Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story Every year, Palestinians from towns and villages across the West Bank bring their ladders and tarps to local olive groves. Olive oil season is the center of local history and culture — and at the heart of the economy.
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Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story

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Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story

Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story

Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/16506897/16548463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Umm Adnan Yasin holds a metal pan that she uses to separate the leaves from the olives, in the West Bank village of Bili'in. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Sandy Tolan for NPR

Umm Adnan Yasin holds a metal pan that she uses to separate the leaves from the olives, in the West Bank village of Bili'in.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

Recipes of the Olive Harvest

Maqloobeh is shown here with an Arabic salad of finely diced tomatoes and diced green peppers, cucumber, olive oil, salt and lemon. Courtesy Ibtisam Barakat hide caption

Read recipes and stories about some of the traditional dishes enjoyed during the olive oil season.
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Courtesy Ibtisam Barakat

Raslan Yasin harvests olives with his son in a grove in the village of Bili'in, near the Israeli separation barrier. Like many Palestinian professionals, Yasin, a hydrologist by training, takes a break from his job every year to work the family harvest. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Sandy Tolan for NPR

Raslan Yasin harvests olives with his son in a grove in the village of Bili'in, near the Israeli separation barrier. Like many Palestinian professionals, Yasin, a hydrologist by training, takes a break from his job every year to work the family harvest.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

'My Hands': A Harvest Song

'Ya Daeiti (My Hands)' - Performed for NPR by the group Houmayoune

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Olive sack
Sandy Tolan for NPR

Fareed Taamallah (back left, next to Sandy Tolan), his sister-in-law, Umm Imad (foreground, with baseball cap), family and friends, pausing for lunch under the olive trees in the West Bank village of Qira. Nidal Rafa for NPR hide caption

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Nidal Rafa for NPR

Fareed Taamallah (back left, next to Sandy Tolan), his sister-in-law, Umm Imad (foreground, with baseball cap), family and friends, pausing for lunch under the olive trees in the West Bank village of Qira.

Nidal Rafa for NPR

Dr. Maen Odeh (left), agricultural scientist and native of the Palestinian village of Bidya with Musa Salameh, president of the village olive oil cooperative. They are standing at a separator at the olive press, which marks the final stage of extraction. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Dr. Maen Odeh (left), agricultural scientist and native of the Palestinian village of Bidya with Musa Salameh, president of the village olive oil cooperative. They are standing at a separator at the olive press, which marks the final stage of extraction.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

Early-season olive oil is squeezed from a press and bottled in a West Bank village. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Early-season olive oil is squeezed from a press and bottled in a West Bank village.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

Olive trees are seen through barbed wire, part of the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bili'in. Thousands of trees were uprooted for construction of the barrier, and many Palestinian farmers are now separated from their crops. Rabbis for Human Rights and other groups have also documented attacks on the harvest by Israeli settlers. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Sandy Tolan for NPR

Olive trees are seen through barbed wire, part of the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bili'in. Thousands of trees were uprooted for construction of the barrier, and many Palestinian farmers are now separated from their crops. Rabbis for Human Rights and other groups have also documented attacks on the harvest by Israeli settlers.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

The hands of an Arab villager and an Israeli volunteer, in the West Bank olive harvest. Sandy Tolan for NPR hide caption

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Sandy Tolan for NPR

The hands of an Arab villager and an Israeli volunteer, in the West Bank olive harvest.

Sandy Tolan for NPR

Like many Palestinians, Yousef Sharkawi is an olive aficionado. The goldsmith stands near one of the oldest olive trees in the Mediterranean region, in Al Walaja village. Rana Bishara for NPR hide caption

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Rana Bishara for NPR

Like many Palestinians, Yousef Sharkawi is an olive aficionado. The goldsmith stands near one of the oldest olive trees in the Mediterranean region, in Al Walaja village.

Rana Bishara for NPR

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