Save OASIS, our Arab-Jewish Fair Trade Olive Grove

On May 9, 2014 we held a protest rally at Oasis to prevent the placement of high tension electric cables over our Arab-Jewish organic olive grove in Roha, as well as over other agricultural lands in the area.

The Oasis project was established in 2010 by Al-Juzur (a company owned by landowners from Kufr Ara) and Sindyanna of Galilee Fair Trade.

The protest rally was attended by landowners from Ara, Ar’ara and Um El-Fahem and Sindyanna of Galilee friends, as well a large number of Arabs and Jews who object to the electric cable plan.

Speakers included Mudar Yunes, head of the Kufr Ar’ara local municipality whose jurisdiction includes the Oasis grove,  Suliman Fahmawi, head of the Roha committee, Muhamed Salame, a landowner, and Hadas Lahav, CEO of Sindyanna of Galilee.

The rally was moderated by Michal Schwartz, the spokeswoman of the campaign to save Oasis, who said “the goal of the rally is to influence the decision makers so that they move the proposed path of the high tension electric cables away from the planted agricultural lands. We hope the final decision will favor the interests of the landowners and we are determined to fight to achieve this goal.”

Hadas Lahav said “the Jewish-Arab organic olive grove in Roha is Sindyanna’s answer to the so-called ‘price tag’ gangs that are spreading terror and hate between the two peoples”.

The event was also covered by multiple local media outlets: Al Arab, Bokra,D60, BLD TNA, Panet, Al Madar, Wadina, Sonara and Mas6ol.

Read more in Al-Monitor in English.

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Dear friends of Sindyanna,

Although we typically do not send more than one mailing a month, this is a unique and urgent situation so we hope you'll understand.

We are rallying to save our Oasis in Wadi Ara – the unique Arab-Jewish fair trade organic olive grove is threathened by the iminent installation of high voltage cables.

What can you do?

We'll update you as things progress, hopefully for the better.

Yours as always,

Hadas Lahav

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Date: 7 April 2014

Press release – for immediate publication

Save OASIS, an Arab-Jewish Fair Trade organic olive grove

A solidarity rally in the grove on Friday, May 9th, at 10:00

The organic plantation, named “Oasis – organic agriculture for solidarity between Arab and Israeli societies” is an innovative and unique project, established in December 2009. It turned 95 dunams (9.5 hectares) of uncultivated land in the Roha area of Wadi Ara into a modern organic olive grove.

The project is a product of partnership between Sindyanna of Galilee Fair Trade Association and the Al-Juzour Association of landowners from Ar’ara. It is the only olive grove in the local area which is managed by organic and intensive agricultural methods. The land had previously been used by the IDF as a firing zone, and had not been cultivated since 1948.

The project is now threatened under National Outline Plan 6/g/10, which approved the installation of a 70 meter-wide stretch of over-ground high voltage cables in October of 2012. The original route went over uncultivated state-owned land, but was subsequently diverted because of IDF opposition. The installation will occupy 35 dunams (3.5 hectares), comprising over a third of the olive grove. Moreover, radiation from the high voltage cables (400 kW) will affect an area 300 meters wide, thus compromising the organic nature of the plantation.

Over 1 million NIS have been invested in the olive grove project, establishing water supplies and infrastructure, clearance, fencing and cultivation. The project has attracted much praise and received Ministry of Agriculture grants. It has been an attraction for visitors and delegations from inside and out of Israel. Every year, hundreds of volunteers, both Arab and Jews, arrive to do seasonal work in the plantation, promoting tolerance and coexistence. Ironically, this land, which had been an IDF firing zone and been derelict for decades, is now destined to return to desolation because of IDF insistence to change the original electricity route.

The damage of the electricity line will be enormous. The cable line in Wadi Ara, will be 10 kilometers long (in aerial line). The cable belt will cause direct damage to at least 1,000 dunams (100 hectares), while radiation emanating from the cables will affect at least 4,000 dunams (400 hectares) of private olive plantations.
Sindyanna of Galilee, Al-Juzour Association and other affected landowners demand to remove the electricity line from the cultivated areas to avert severe economic and environmental damage to olive groves.

Save Oasis, an oasis of modern, organic cultivation and coexistence!