The battle for Palestine’s olive harvest kicks off in the West Bank

La « guerre des olives », c’est un reportage de Jimmy Hutcheon en Palestine pour le Middle East Eye.

Olives are a key part of the Palestinian economy but every year settlers routinely damage, uproot, poison, or burn down the trees.

DOUMA, West Bank – The annual olive harvest is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians. The olive harvest happens every autumn and runs from October to December.

Palestinians face many challenges and find that their access to land, water and markets are often heavily limited by Israeli settlements, checkpoints and restrictions that pop up throughout much of the West Bank.

Yet, in spite of all these challenges farmers come out to harvest their olives year after year. Olive farming is a key source of income in Palestine, and an area that is believed to hold vast economic promise.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), olive production makes up 25 percent of the West Bank economy and provides jobs to more than 150,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank.

Lire l’article sur le Middle East Eye.

Belarus: ‘Last dictatorship in Europe’ set for a vote

En Biélorussie, dans la « dernière dictature d’Europe », on retrouve cette semaine Jimmy Hutcheon aux cotés de Jonathan Brown pour Al Jazeera.

 

Minsk, Belarus – Belarussians headed to the polls on Sunday in elections many predict will see strongman President Alexander Lukashenko easily re-elected to a fifth term.

Compared to the elections of December 2010 – which ended in the arrest of opposition leaders and political activists as widespread protests flared against what many called a rigged vote – this year’s campaigning has been fairly mundane.

Both Lukashenko’s supporters and those hoping for an end to the Belarussian president’s 20-year reign see him slated for five additional years in office. Non-government surveys have recorded an increase in Lukashenko’s ratings from 39 percent in July to 46 percent in September.

Under Lukashenko’s leadership, Belarus has been routinely referred to as the « last dictatorship in Europe ». The country’s civil and political rights record is among the poorest globally. Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index ranks Belarus 157 out of 180 countries.

 

Lire l’article sur Al Jazeera.