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Iffley church launches appeal to buy olive trees for Palestinian farmers
A CHURCH has launched a Harvest Festival appeal to raise at least £10,500 to pay to plant 750 trees in Palestine.
St Mary’s, Iffley, supported the Olive Tree Campaign last year and raised £12,000 – which meant that 850 trees were planted.
A series of events have been organised this year to raise funds for the campaign.
One organiser, Stephen Patrick, said: “The Olive Tree Campaign is to replant tens of thousands of olive trees in Palestine in the West Bank to support farmers who have had their crops damaged.
“There is a military occupation of the West Bank.”
The Olive Tree Campaign, which is in its 11th year, is organised by the YMCA of East Jerusalem and the YWCA of Palestine, with the aim of replanting 50,000 olive trees on the West Bank.
This is the second year St Mary’s has supported the charity as part of its harvest festival appeal. A group will return to Palestine to plant trees in February.
A group of 40 people from all over the UK, including a small group from St Mary’s Iffley, planted 1,600 trees earlier this year.
Mr Patrick, 44, added: “The idea is to be involved in a project that would not usually be funded by the big aid agencies.
“This is very specific. The thing with St Mary’s is to support a campaign where we know we are making a difference.”
The fundraising drive starts with A Flavour of Palestine music, food and dance event on Saturday, from 5pm to 8pm, at Iffley village hall, in Church Way.
Musicians Raast, whose members are Palestinian, Egyptian and English, will perform and there will be traditional Palestinian dancing called dabke.
Raast perform using traditional and contemporary instruments including the oud.
There will be Palestinian refreshments as well as the sale of Fairtrade produce including olives, olive oil, scarves and bags from a women’s co-operative in Hebron and there will be a live Skype-in from the Olive Tree Campaign in Bethlehem.
Entry is a suggested donation of £5 on the door. Tickets include refreshments.
The church is also hosting a Palestinian-themed ‘bring and share’ lunch on Sunday, October 6 after the Sunday service from noon until 3pm.
A Palestinian film evening is also being planned in November, details of which are yet to be announced.
For more details of the campaign, email email@example.com
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