In Pictures: Pressing Olives in Ramallah - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Pressing Olives in Ramallah

The olive oil industry, which supports thousands of families in occupied territories, is in decline.

Rich Wiles | | Palestine, Occupied West Bank, Middle East

Following their displacement from al-Lydd in 1948, the Rantisi family purchased the historic olive press in Ramallah's old city. Now fully modernised, it is one of only two surviving olive presses in Ramallah.

Nabeel Rantisi was born in to the olive oil business but says the industry has declined over the years:

"The Israelis have stolen so much of our land and now there are buildings everywhere too."

More than 60% of the West Bank is classified as 'Area C' which is under full Israeli civil and military control. Construction of Israeli settlements and the Wall in Area C, along with other tools of the Israeli occupation, have colonised huge swathes of agricultural land and destroyed olive trees.

The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) estimates that 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israel inside the occupied West Bank since 1967.

The restrictions placed on 'Area C' have pushed many villagers into the cities. This has consequently led to new constructions which have also necessitated the uprooting of trees.

Olive yield is low this year across Palestine. Some farmers are blaming last winter's heavy snowfall while others believe the lack of rain has affected the harvest. Standing outside the Rantisi Olive Press, Munif Hassan puts it more simply: 'Min Allah' (It's from God').

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