Olive Oil Without Borders: Cross Border Partnerships

In 2011, the Near East Foundation (NEF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a ground-breaking economic development project. Olive Oil Without Borders is an idea that brought mutual understanding and increases in financial livelihoods to both sides of a decades-long conflict through the development of the Israeli and Palestinian olive oil […]

Olive Oil Without Borders: Moments of Memory

As the Olive Oil Without Borders project comes to a close, we look back on what was a groundbreaking joint USAID-NEF effort to provide sustainable economic and structural development to Palestinian and Israeli olive oil sectors. The three-year project was notable for increasing production as well as production capacity and building lasting cooperative partnerships between […]

NEF Launches Olive Oil Without Borders III

Now in its third three-year phase, NEF’s USAID-funded Olive Oil Without Borders (OOWB) project received sign off to launch OOWB III this fall. OOWB is continuing to build relationships of trust, mutual understanding, and collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians through economic cooperation. Why the olive sector? Olive farming is a cornerstone of the local rural […]

Myasar Yseen: A mother, wife, olive farmer, soap-maker, and community leader

Written By: Lateshia Beachum, Photo Taken By: Jennifer Swanson Myasar Yseen’s a full-time housewife and mother. And olive farmer. And soap-maker. And community leader. Yseen does what’s typical of a Palestinian housewife with children: She assigns one of her younger daughters to clean grape leaves that will be stuffed with rice, she cleans olives from […]

Olive farmer and serial entrepreneur, Nilham Azem, cares for his trees no matter the cost

Written By: Christine Rushton, Photo Taken By: Azem Hootnick His father knew the olive trees. And before him, his grandfather. And now, he knows them, too. Indeed, Nilham Azem doesn’t just care for these trees. He cares about them. Azem, 59, is walking the land he farms. It’s hot. Yet on a 32-degree day in mid-June, he still […]

A mother, a wife, an olive farmer

Businesswoman Sumaia Sawalmeh relies on the support of her husband to balance her work while raising her family of five in rural West Bank.  By Christine Rushton Sumaia Sawalmeh, 40, sits on her ornate red couch. A wrinkle-free black dress skirts her ankles and the sleeves stretch toward her wrists. High-wedge dress sandals adorn each foot. Her […]

Cross-border Trade Agreement Opens New Markets for Palestinian Olive Farmers

Nablus, West Bank (March 21, 2013) — In less than two months, 500 tons of Palestinian olive oil have crossed the border into Israel – the first official shipments since the border was closed to olive oil during the Intifada over 10 years ago. The landmark shipments were facilitated by the first ever joint policy […]

Palestinian Women Leaders Visit Fair Trade Center and Olive Fields in Israel

Galilee, Israel (November 29, 2012) — In a rare cross-border exchange, 30 Palestinian women civic leaders traveled from the West Bank to Israel, where they met with Israeli and Arab-Israeli women. During the daylong visit, the women – who are all farmers – discussed the economic benefits of cross-border cooperation, modern farming practices, and new income […]