[Please forward to friends, contacts, and sympathetic organizations]


A Call From:
Not In My Name
Fellowship of Reconciliation (Chicago)
Granada Muslims and Jews for Human Rights

February 13, 2003

Not In My Name (NIMN), the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) Chicago, and Granada Muslims and Jews for Human Rights urge you to make a small donation in solidarity with the Palestinian future. The YWCA and YMCA in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories have initiated a campaign to plant 50,000 olive trees. This effort has enormous practical and symbolic value in these difficult days.

Below is the 'url' and the text of the campaign. As explained, for each $20 donated, a young olive tree will be planted, complete with a 'sponsor' (your name) tag.

To make it easier to contribute, we are providing a United States address to send your check and sponsor information. The money will be wired and the sponsorship information will be 'bundled' and sent on to the YMCA in East Jerusalem. The initial planting will not run much past February, 2003 so please respond immediately. The campaign will continue through the year.

Mail your check (made payable to: Not In My Name, with the memo line reading East Jerusalem YMCA, Olive Tree Campaign) and sponsorship form (at the bottom of this email) to:

Olive Tree Campaign
c/o NIMN
PMB 206 2859 Central St.
Evanston, IL 60201

We will endeavor to send you a report on the success of this call, so please include your email address.

Not In My Name http://www.nimn.org
Fellowship of Reconciliation (Chicago)
Grenada Muslims and Jews for Human Rights



Keeping Hope Alive - Replanting Olive Trees in Palestine

YWCA and YMCA staff are confronted with numerous obstacles every day in their encounters with the Israeli occupation forces. Routine humiliation and oppression as part of the ongoing siege and closure prevent them from carrying out even the most basic elements of their jobs in the territories. In spite of this, however, the staff remain committed to ensuring the operation of a variety of programs - including the Olive Tree Campaign.

Throughout the years of occupation, hundreds of thousands of olive trees have been systematically uprooted and destroyed. Since the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000, over 112,000 olive trees have been uprooted in the Palestinian Territories for so-called security reasons.

Because hope must be kept alive, the YMCA and the YWCA's Olive Tree Campaign aims to replant olive trees in places where they have been uprooted. The Campaign goal is to replant 50,000 olive trees in the Palestinian Territories with the sponsorship of YMCAs and YWCAs, as well as churches and other groups and individuals around the world. Through replanting olive trees, Palestinians will be encouraged to keep their sense of hope alive and to reaffirm their commitment to work constructively toward peace-building.

You can join the campaign

Everyone is invited to participate in the Campaign. Through this simple action you will contribute to keeping hope alive in the lives of Palestinians throughout the territories.

The amount of US $20 covers the cost of the young plant, distribution, planting, training materials and courses designed to teach the best techniques for olive tree care and production improvement. The cost also covers a sponsor label to be inscribed with the sponsor's name, an official certificate, and miscellaneous implementation costs of the project.

Three-year old, solid, young plants are used in order to optimize survival potential.

Plants are provided by the tree-nursery of the YMCA Women's Training Program, which produces 2,500 plants annually, as well as by other local organizations.

Planting will only take place in agreement and cooperation with landowners and farmers. They are given information on the project and participate in the planting of the trees. In addition, specialists will give them the tools necessary to ensure the future care of the tree.

Every tree planted as part of the project will bear a sponsor label inscribed as follows: "Sponsor's name chose to keep hope alive."

Every sponsor will receive a certificate indicating the location of the tree.

The local YMCA and YWCA guarantee the careful implementation of the project within the local context.

Every sponsor will also receive a campaign kit that provides information on the olive tree, on the issues related to the campaign (land occupation, local YMCA and YWCA work, etc.), and further recommendations on how to become active (writing letters and other actions).

The Olive Tree Campaign is the first activity of the Free Palestine program.


Olive Tree - Symbol of peace and prosperity

The olive tree has a long and rich tradition in the Mediterranean region. Olive trees provide basic livelihood and nutrition for various populations. Approximately 1,000 km2 of land in the Palestinian Territories and 20 km2 in Israel are planted with olive trees. In the Palestinian Territories, an olive tree yields an average harvest of 9 kg of oil. This oil is used for several purposes: nutrition, gifts, religious ritual, as energy for burning, soap and as a base for medicine. Together with the fig tree and wine, the olive tree is a symbol of prosperity and happiness. The olive tree typically has a life span of 800 to 1,000 years. It is humble, lives on poor soil and yields precious fruit.

How does planting Olive Trees help?

During the current Intifada the uprooting of olive trees intensified and it became clear that this is done on purpose to kill the hope inside the hearts of the Palestinian people. We noticed also that most of the activities carried out by local and international NGOs are only directed to media and to publicity and not to help the local people live a life with dignity.

After uprooting some trees, for instance, people would go there together with some foreigners, bringing the television reporters, interviewing people and prominent figures and that was all: nothing more.

So after consulting with some groups, we decided that if we really want to keep hope alive, we need not only to make symbolic gestures, but also to link them with people's economic situation and changing the life of people.

So planting the trees is one aspect, but also helping the farmers and the people to benefit from these products is another aspect. They are both beneficial, especially when they are linked together.

We noticed that the farmers are now reluctant to plant olive trees because it is no longer beneficial for them. They cannot market their olives and their oil easily because of the closure, and therefore such products have became very cheap.

This is why we decided to launch such a project to help our people in producing new things like the extra virgin olive oil and organic soap. Both products are healthy and needed. Very few people know how to produce soaps or extra virgin oil, so that is why this would be a new market, even locally. The oil will be tested in Beir Zeit University laboratory and will be bottled in recycled glass, made by handicraft artisans from Hebron, in order to help them also to market their products.
Sponsorship Form (please print out or put info on a 3"x5" card)

Please PRINT clearly

Name: ____________________________________________

Mailing address: ____________________________________________


E-mail address: ____________________________________________

No. of Trees: _____________

Total Donation: ____________

Make Checks Payable to:
Not In My Name
on memo line put: East Jerusalem YMCA, Olive Tree Campaign

Mail you check and completed form to:

Olive Tree Campaign
c/o NIMN
PMB 206 2859 Central St.
Evanston, IL 60201