I'm an Australian currently living in Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine. The might of the occupation, and the powerful backers it has in the West, make me feel very small; for Palestinians, it's a constant threat to livelihood and life. But acts of solidarity by supporters of Palestinian rights, even small ones, are able to provide a little relief to that threat. That's why I'm here, and I have been volunteering with groups like To Be There, which provides educational solidarity programs working with local farmers. If you'd like to read about my experiences harvesting olives the first time I came to Palestine, check out my olive harvest diary.
Giving gift donations is a popular practice for people of conscience in Australia. This year, since I'll be here in Palestine, I am going to be raising donations rather than giving them! Being on the ground as an independant activist means I can bypass a lot of the issues of giving to large NGOs like Oxfam and ensure money is going to those who need it. And the fact that I'm here on the ground means there will be no lengthy delays caused by international bank transfers!
I'm raising money for the winter olive tree planting programs of To Be There, in some of the villages around Bethlehem. Planting olive trees is a way for Palestinians to manifest their ownership over their own land; for this very reason, Israeli settlers routinely burn olive groves to undermine Palestinians and their way of life that has persisted for thousands of years. Replanting these fields, or those under threat by military construction, is a peaceful method of resisting dispossession. To Be There also plants fig, almond and pomegranate saplings to ensure biodiversity.
Each tree costs $11 AUD.
I am an independant activist, not employed by To Be There (or anyone else!).
100% of all donations will go directly to new trees for Palestinian farmers.
All donors will receive a personalised PDF certificate of donation made out to a name of your choosing, to hang on the tree on Christmas day if you are making a gift donation, or for your own wall!
All donors will also receive photographs of their donated trees being planted in February.
I can only guarantee donations from Australia will arrive in a timely fashion, so that's all I'm accepting. If you live in another country and would like to donate, please get in touch with To Be There directly.
If you are interested in donating, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!