Large PA Profits from Olives

Palestinian Authority Arab farmers earned approximately $140 million from this year’s olive harvest, almost $100,000 more than last year.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 19:46

Harvesting olives in Judea
Harvesting olives in Judea
Israel News Photo: (file)

Tens of thousands of acres in Judea and Samaria are blanketed with olive groves that now are bare of their fruit as one of the most successful harvest seasons in history draws to a close. 

Palestinian Authority Arab farmers earned estimated revenues of more than $140 million from this year’s olive harvest, and they tripled their production of olive oil, according to the IDF, which credits its own presence with the smooth efficiency of the work. 

Meetings between Civil Administration staff and their PA counterparts, village heads and officials from the PA Olive Oil Department were held early in the season to coordinate security for the harvest, noted the IDF in a statement sent to the media.

Permits to harvest olives in the seam zone – the area around the 1949 Armistice border that later became known as the Green Line and subsequently was called the 1967 border – were granted to some 3,000 PA workers until the end of the harvest. 

The harvest, which began on October 5, yielded approximately 24,000 tons of olive oil, as opposed to 8,000 tons last year. The figure stems from a total volume of 114,000 tons of olives that were picked this year by PA farmers, their families and other workers, in comparison to last year’s harvest of only 41,000 tons.

The olives were picked from trees that spread out over Judea and Samaria, covering an area of some 900,000 square kilometers. The olive groves account for approximately 40 percent of all land that is used for agriculture in the Palestinian Authority. 

Approximately 7,000 tons of olives will be used for pickling, but the vast majority – 107,000 tons, to be exact, will be crushed to release their world-famous oil. Only an estimated 7,000 tons of the olive oil that will be produced will be sold locally in Israel.

The olive industry provides jobs for more than 100,000 PA families, comprising a total of at least half a million people, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.