Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

In pictures: Harvesting olives

Member of family of West Bank farmer Ramiz Barham, picking olives.

More than half the West Bank's Palestinian population will participate in harvesting the olives from some 10 million trees in the territory, the UN says.

Family of Ramiz Barham and international volunteers pick olives in West Bank.

Harvesters pluck the olives onto a sheet spread below the tree, using sticks to gently shake the branches. Ramiz Barham's family will work for 15 12-hour days to harvest the produce of their 100 trees.

Ahmad, 5, helps pick olives

Extended families work together, with even the youngest involved. In the field next to Mr Barham's, five-year-old Ahmad Shtawie’s mother says he likes to help, but "gets tired".

Volunteer with Rabbis for Human Rights helps pick olives

Palestinians and rights groups say the harvesters increasingly face harassment by Israeli settlers. International and Israeli activists have been supporting the farmers and helping with the work.

Ahmad (5) and Suha (3) play during olive harvest

Ahmad and his sister Suha, 3, say they are building a small house and want to live in the olive groves. "They want to stop the settlers taking our land," says his mother, Um Nimer.

Olives on tree

The Palestinians say the first rains of autumn should wash the tree and make the olives taste better. But this year has been dry and the trees are dusty.

Um Nimer Shtawie makes tea during olive harvest

The long days are broken with glasses of sweet tea flavoured with sage. Um Nimer and Suha build a small fire in the olive grove to boil a kettle.

Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann and Abu Nimer Shtawie discuss religion during olive harvest

There is still time for theological debate. Ahmad’s father, Abu Nimer and volunteer Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann become animated over the status of the Prophet Muhammad.

Truck of tree during olive harvest

Many of the trees are decades old, with their owners saying they were planted by their grandparents.

Picked olives in sack during olive harvest

Olive trees fruit on a two year cycle, and 2008 is a peak year. The families will take their crops to olive presses, expected to produce some 30,000 tonnes of oil in total across the West Bank.



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