1. A range of access and protection challenges has hindered the ability of Palestinians to earn their living from olive trees, particularly during the olive harvest season. The most problematic areas are olive groves located between the Barrier and the Green Line, in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, and along the perimeter fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.
2. Thousands of farmers are denied access to their olive groves located between the Barrier and the Green Line due to ‘security reasons’ or inability to meet Israel’s criteria to prove a ‘connection to the land’. This is in spite of the fact that the Israeli authorities approve a larger number of permit applications than during the olive harvest than the rest of the year. Many Palestinians are discouraged from applying for permits as they have been refused in the past, and others refuse to apply as a matter of principle.
3. The majority of the ‘agricultural gates’ along the Barrier (44 out of 66) are only open for a limited number of hours during harvest days. This restrictive opening prevents many farmers from carrying out essential al year round activities such as ploughing, pruning, and fertilizing, thus undermining the quality and quantity of the yield.
4. In ‘friction areas’ around settlements, Palestinian access during the harvest is restricted to limited periods designated by the Israeli army. While this measure is intended to prevent settler attacks, it puts the onus of the limitations on the farmers, rather than on violent settlers, and is ineffective in preventing attacks against trees when soldiers are not present.