Michal Shwartz Heifa 0

Save OASIS, an Arab-Jewish organic olive grove in Wadi Ara

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April 2014

Save OASIS, an Arab-Jewish organic olive grove in Wadi Ara

To the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Gideon Saar


I the undersigned petition you:

1. To prevent the approval of National Outline Plan תמ"א 10/ג/6 , which proposes to place high tension electric cables over agricultural lands that are planted with olive groves;

2. To accept the alternative proposal of shifting the said cables to an uncultivated area, as was originally planned;

3. And thus to prevent the destruction of the organic olive grove known as Oasis, avoiding grave economic and environmental harm to the farmlands of the region’s residents.


The organic plantation known as “OASIS: Organic agriculture for solidarity between Arabs and Jews in Israel is an innovative and unique project established in December 2009. It has 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 Ara. It is the only olive grove in the local area which is managed by organic and intensive agricultural methods. It is a model and an inspiration to all the area’s farmers.
The land was previously used by the IDF as a firing range and had not been worked since 1948. Its cultivation became possible thanks to the “Roha agreements” of the year 2000, in which the army released to the landowners thousands of dunams that had earlier been slated as firing zones.

Over 1 million NIS have been invested in the olive grove project, establishing water supplies and infrastructure, clearance, fencing and cultivation. Every year, hundreds of volunteers, both Arab and Jews, arrive to do seasonal work in the plantation, promoting tolerance and coexistence.

The project, along with all the agricultural lands in the area, is now being threatened by National Outline Plan תמ"א 10/ג/6, which calls for the installation of a 70 meter-wide stretch of over-ground high voltage cables. The installation will directly occupy more than a third of the plantation. The line will damage not less than 1000 dunams (10 hectares), all of which are private lands planted with olive trees. Moreover, radiation emanating from the cables will affect at least 4,000 dunams (400 hectares) of private olive plantations, and will undermine the organic nature of the plantation.

The original plan was to place the cables over uncultivated state-owned land, but this route was diverted because of IDF opposition, with the result that it now crosses private cultivated lands.

An alternative to this harmful route has been proposed—one that is acceptable to the landowners and the other parties involved—but the army opposes it as well.

Ironically, this land, which had been an IDF firing range and been derelict for decades, is now destined to return to its previous desolation because of the IDF’s sweeping objection.

At the end of March 2014, the landowners launched an appear against the plan. The Ministry of Interior has not yet issued a final decision. It is not too late to save the olive grove.

In Israel, power lines are set to run through Arab-Jewish olive grove: Zafrir Rinat's article in Ha'aretz. http://bit.ly/1pcLsfz

For further information: Michal Schwartz Michals@maan.org.il

To the Sindyanna of the Galilee website


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