Palestinian Olive Harvest by David Shaw

Photos by David Shaw

David Shaw is a 2nd year BA Photojournalism studying at London College of Communication. His work is centred around human rights issues and is where he wants to further his career. he did an extensive work all over the West Bank of Palestine and in Israel and well as he worked with migrants and refugees who are stuck in Calais trying to get into Britain.


Bashar picks olives in the West Bank village of Qaryout

Every year the Palestinians harvest the olive trees that have been part of their land for centuries. However, due to the military occupation in Palestine, the farmers are subject to constant attacks by Israeli soldiers and idealogical settlers in the harvesting period.
The ancient trees are burnt down throughout the year effectively destroying hundreds of years worth of history and attacking an old Palestinian tradition that had been a fundamental part of their culture for generations.

The families are forced from their land due to “security reasons” at random and cannot continue the harvest, taking away a large part of their income and attacking basic human rights.

The Olive Harvest has become more than traditional harvesting, it has become a form of resistance. The Palestinians are aware that if they give up their land and stop harvesting the trees, Israel will claim it as their own.

The images in this story are from the villages Burin and Oaryout, two of the many villages across the West Bank and Gaza that experience these continuous attacks and attempts to have their land and culture taken away from them.


Palestinian farmers load a tractor with olive branches in the presence of an Israeli settlement which is mage on what used to Palestinian farm land. Near the village of Qaryout.


Women go to work in the West Bank village of Salem.


Farmers carry a freshly harvested sack of olives back to the village of Qaryout.


An elderly women picks fallen Olives in the Village of Qaryout.


An olive tree stands despite being attacked and burnt local Israeli settlers. Near the West Bank village of Burin.


Mr Najjar finds more trees burnt by local Israeli settlers. Near the village of Burin.


Israeli soldiers arrive to force Palestinan farmers off their land due to “security reasons”. Palestinian farmers have to co-ordinate times to harvest their trees how ever it is often not enough and the soldiers do not always abide by the agreed times. Near the village of Burin.


Mr Najjar argues with Israeli soldiers over their order for him to leave his land, near the village of Burin.


Ghassan Najjar after being told to leave his farther land near the village of Burin.


An Israeli gate stops Palestinian farmers driving their tractors and tools to their land near the village of Salem.


The Harvest of the day is processed at the village olive press in Qaryout.


Many different families and farmers bring their olives to be pressed at the local olive press in Qaryout.


A Palestinian works the village press in the village of Qaryout.


An Israeli soldier checks a famers green card near the village of Qaryout.


Israeli soldiers question Palestinian farmers near the village of Qaryout.


International volunteers and Palestinians work the olive trees near the village of Qaryout.

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