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The Role of Olive Tree and Olive Oil in Sustainable Development in Palestine with Respect to Entrepreneurship Dr. Hilmi S. Salem* *Research Professor and Director General E-mail: [email protected] com Technical and Applied Research Center (TARC) Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie (PTUK) P. O. Box 7, Tulkarm, West Bank, Palestine Phone: +972 -2 -267 -1026; Mobile: +972 -598 -560 -534
Paper Presented at the Conference of “Skills for Sustainable Development – An Expert Meeting” European Training Foundation (ETF) Villa Gualino, Turin, Italy 22 -23 November 2010
Presentation Outlines Problems Facing the Mena Region (Middle East and North Africa Countries), including the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). These problems include Political Instability, Population Growth, and Environmental and Social Deteriorations, such as Water Shortage, Climate Change, Agricultural Decline, Food Insecurity, and Poverty. First International Conference on Olive in Palestine (ICOP): Status and Challenges Entrepreneurship. Recommendations.
Map of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Region
Problems Facing MENA Region (1) POLITICAL INSTABIITY
HISTORICAL (MANDATE) PALESTINE (HP)
Israeli Illegal Activities in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank (Source: Salem 2010) The Israel i Settlements, the Israeli Segregation Wall & Segregation Zones, and the destruction which the Israelis have caused to the Palestinian properties in the Occupied West Bank (as a result of the continued processes of colonization and segregation). These include land confiscation, and damages to groundwater wells,
Changes in the Route of the Israeli Segregation Wall (ISW) between June 2004 and December 2008 (Source: Salem 2010) Date of Change Wall Length (km) Area Isolated (km 2) % of the Wall from the Total West Bank Area June 2004 645 683 633 11. 2 565 10 703 770 555 9. 8 713 12. 6 768 734 13 February 2005 April 2006 April 2007 December 2008
The Israeli Segregation Wall (ISW) The ISW consists of a 4 -5 m high double-layered electric metal fences (representing a ‘dead zone’), reinforced with barbed wires, trenches, surveillance cameras, sensors, footprint-detection tracks, security patrols, and military roads. Other parts of the ISW, dividing Palestinian population centres, consist of 8 -12 m high concrete segments that form an immense solid concrete barrier with military watchtowers lined-up 250 m apart. The ISW has devastated, so far, an area of 40 -100 m along its route. It has also caused major environmental, social, economical, and political impacts on the Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank.
Environmental Damages Caused by ISW/1 In villages around the cities of Qalqilya and Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, dozens of Palestinian water wells were lost as a result of the ISW’s construction. These wells, penetrating the Western groundwater basin, were drilled prior to the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank. “Terrible environmental damage has been also inflicted on large areas in the heart of the country. 17 million cubic meters of soil, with tens of thousands of olive trees, thousands of dunoms of orchards and groves, tens of thousands of dunoms of natural growth, hothouses, archaeological sites and water wells, as well as the fabric of life of hundreds of thousands of people [Palestinians] – are being crushed by giant bulldozers. ” (Meron Benvenisti – Haaretz, 2004).
Environmental Damages Caused by ISW/2 The ISW has caused severe impacts on the hydrology of the watersheds in the areas affected. In addition, considerable changes have been already caused in the water quantity and quality, in the stream channel morphology, in the groundwater levels, and on the region’s water supplies. The surface water flow has also been altered, and severe increases in the rates of erosion and sedimentation have also occurred.
Environmental Damages Caused by ISW/3 Up to 192 km 2 of agricultural lands are isolated in the Western segregation zone, in addition to 844 km 2 in the Eastern segregation zone, which both constitute 18. 3% of the total area (5661 km 2) of the West Bank. Up to 247 km 2 of forest land areas with shrubs are isolated in the Western segregation zone, and other 708 km 2 are isolated in the Eastern segregation zone, both of which constitute 16. 9% of the total area of the West Bank. The Eastern segregation zone has isolated 204 groundwater wells and 43 springs, and the Western segregation zone has isolated 29 groundwater wells and 29 springs.
The Israeli Segregation Wall (ISW) and International Law According to the ICJ, the ISW violates the right to self-determination, the law of occupation, and the law of human rights, especially the right to freedom of movement and to access to holy places, work, health, education, and adequate standards of living. ‘Self-defence’ or ‘state of necessity’, as Israel keeps claiming, cannot be used as justification for violating international legal principles and the rights of a people living under military occupation (Mc. Mahon, ICJ 2005). The ICJ concluded that the construction of the ISW is contrary to international law, pointing to the legal consequences, and, therefore, Israel must cease the Wall’s construction.
Building Illegal Settlements : Green Cover → Deforestation → Desertification The Israeli Settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) in the Occupied West Bank, as developed during a 10 Year Period (1997 -2007).
Problems Facing MENA Region (2) POPULATION GROWTH
Projected Population Growth for the Narrow Middle-Eastern Countries for the Period 2000 -2050. (Source: UN 2001, 2005; Brauch 2002, 2007; Salem 2010) Country Population in 2000 (million) Projected Population in 2050 (million) Projected Population Difference 2000 -2050 (million) Projected Population Difference (%) Egypt 67. 9 16. 2 4. 9 6. 0 113. 8 36. 4 11. 7 10. 0 45. 9 20. 2 6. 8 4. 0 68 125 139 67 3. 2 11. 8 8. 6 269 3. 5 5. 0 1. 5 43 Syria Jordan Israel OPT (Palestine) Lebanon
Population Growth In Narrow Middle-Eastern Countries A projected population difference (PPD) in the range of 43% - 269%, for the Narrow Middle-Eastern countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories; OPT) over a period of 50 years (2000 -2050), is really high, which will form extra pressure on the region’s natural resources (water, biodiversity, livestock, etc. ), and the environment, taking into account the impacts of climate change.
Population Growth in the OPT According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS, 2008), the OPT’s population was about 4 million in the year 2007, including about 2. 5 million in the West Bank and about 1. 5 million in the Gaza Strip. In recent years, the estimated natural population growth rate for the Palestinians in the OPT is 3. 5% (3. 1% in the West Bank and 3. 7% in the Gaza Strip), comprising one of the highest growth rates in the Middle East region and worldwide, while the world’s average of population growth is 1. 14% (Salem 2009). The average population density in the West Bank is 432 capita/km 2 of the total area, and it is 6, 842 capita/km 2 of the total-built area (PCBS 2006). While in the Gaza Strip, the average population density is 3, 981 capita/km 2 of the total area, and it is 7, 485 capita/km 2 of the total-built area (PCBS 2006), making the Gaza Strip one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.
Problems Facing MENA Region (3) ENVIRONMENTAL DETERIORATION
Historical Palestine (HP) Based on its geographic attributes and geomorphologic and topographical characteristics, HP is recognized as rich and diverse, composed of five climatic zones: 1) The coastal zone 2) The semi-coastal zone 3) The central highlands’ zone 4) The eastern slopes’ zone 5) The Jordan-Valley zone. Each of these zones is dominated by a common type of geographical flora and fauna characteristics. HP is primarily an agricultural country, and the West Bank in the OPT, in particular, has been a major agricultural producer. Agriculture makes up a large part of both the Palestinian economy and land use, representing 30% of the Palestinian Gross National Product (GNP), with more than 50% of the population benefiting directly from agricultural production.
Climate in Historical Palestine (HP) The climate in HP is typically Mediterranean, with a long, hot and dry summer; a short, cool and rainy winter; and a drier-than-spring autumn. Both the temperature and the evaporation rate increase towards the south and east. The average annual rainfall ranges from less than 50 mm to 800 mm, depending on the location, with almost 70% of it occurs between November and February, and the rest between March and May. The impacts on rainfall, evaporation, desertification, storm intensity, etc. have been already felt in many areas around the world, including the OPT which has been already suffering from severe shortages of natural resources, particularly water.
Water Shortage Interest in water resources in the Mediterranean region has risen significantly in recent years. This is largely due to the increased population in different countries, and due to the populations’ concentrations within urban areas. The demand for water in the Mediterranean region, including the OPT in particular, is dominated by three major user groups: agricultural irrigation, domestic use, and industry. Even, presumably, if climate change would not impact the Middle East, the water scarcity in the region, particularly in the OPT, is a huge problem, politically, demographically and economically. A rapid growth in agricultural and industrial outputs is needed to sustain the population growth in the region, which requires good management of the water resources available.
The Aquifer Systems in Historical Palestine (including Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) (Source: Salem/Isaac 2007)
Water Aquifer Systems in the Occupied West Bank, OPT The Western Aquifer System (WAS) is the largest system in the OPT, with a safe yield of 365 MCM/yr, of which 40 MCM is brackish water. 80% of its recharge area is in the West Bank, whereas 80% of its storage area is in Israel. The North-Eastern Aquifer System (N-EAS) has an annual safe yield of 145 MCM, of which 70 MCM is brackish water. The Eastern Aquifer System (EAS) has an annual safe yield of 175 MCM, of which 70 MCM is brackish water. This aquifer system lies entirely within the West Bank, and until 1967 it was exclusively used by the Palestinian villagers and farmers in the region.
The Gaza Strip, OPT The Gaza Strip, with a total area of 362 km 2 and a population of about 1. 5 million, is one of the most densely populated areas worldwide.
The Gaza Coastal Aquifer System The Gaza Coastal Aquifer System (GCAS) is the sole water source for about 1. 5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, providing the Gaza Strip with 96% of its needs. This aquifer system is a continuation of the shallow sandy/sandstone Coastal Aquifer used by Israel. Over 4, 000 wells penetrate GCAS with depths ranging from 25 to 30 m. While the annual safe yield of this system is 55 MCM, it has been over-used with more than 120 MCM annually. As a result, the groundwater table fell below sea level, and saline water has intruded the aquifer system in many areas. So the GCAS is highly polluted and salinated due to many reasons.
Climate Change and Agricultural Decline The OPT has experienced, during the past two decades or so, both minimum and maximum temperature extremes and, generally, severe weather extremes. In the OPT, fruit production (mainly olives) is a major commodity and, to a large extent, a primary source of revenue for agricultural areas, which is extremely vulnerable to temperature extremes.
Importance of Olive Tree to the Palestinian People The olive tree is very important to the Palestinian people, historically, socially, economically, politically, and civilization-wise, as it has a great meaning to them and their long and deep history in Palestine. The Olive tree is considered the livelihood for many Palestinian families, as it has been strongly contributing to the Palestinian economy. It will also profoundly contribute to sustainable development of the “State of Palestine” in the future.
Olive and Olive Oil with Respect to Sustainable Development The olive and olive oil industry have been widely contributing to private businesses, as many farmers and industries have been involved in this industry, in terms of using the Palestinian olive oil and manufacturing it, and then exporting it to many countries around the world, including the USA and the European Union (EU). So, it is strongly believed that for a sustainable development in Palestine, private businesses and governmental and nongovernmental institutions in Palestine and abroad (USA, EU, Japan, etc. ) need to generously invest in this important sector, especially because of its high quality, and because it is unique and special in terms of its physical, chemical, and health-wise characterizations.
PTUK and Agriculture Sector The Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie (PTUK), established some 80 years ago (in 1930) with great interest and profound concerns in the agriculture sector, has already built a leading and distinguished entrepreneurship program with respect to many learning and research sectors, including the agriculture sector. The University (PTUK) is highly concerned in promoting strategies on how the agriculture sector can effectively contribute to sustainable development in Palestine.
PTUK and Entrepreneurship The University’s (PTUK) administration has already introduced, as part of the its vision and future plans, an entrepreneurship advisory board dealing with strategy development for promotion of ‘across campus’ entrepreneurial learning program supported with entrepreneurial advanced program of research, where both entrepreneurship programs of learning and research strongly contribute to the needs of the Palestinian community and industry.
PTUK’s Steps Towards Entrepreneurship/1 Developing curriculum with extra activities, including teaching and research staff development, and teaching and learning processes. Establishing University-Enterprise cooperation arrangements and support structures. Signing important agreements with, for instance, the National Agricultural Research Center of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, with the Municipality of Tulkarm, and with the Palestinian Water Authority, in regard to areas of mutual interest to all parties involved and the community. These agreements will essentially be cornerstones with respect to entrepreneurship strategies in cooperation with the public (governmental) sector.
PTUK’s Steps Towards Entrepreneurship/2 The University (PTUK) has taken the initiative and leadership in calling and arranging for the “First International Conference on Olive in Palestine (ICOP): Status and Challenges” and its parallel Exhibition. Both conference and exhibition (C&E) will take place in the region for the first time, and will be held at the PTUK’s campus in February 2011. Many scientists, researchers, academicians, professionals, international experts, businesses manufacturers, etc. , from the Mediterranean region and the USA, have expressed their interest to participate in the C&E.
PTUK’s Steps Towards Entrepreneurship/3 In addition, many international experts (from the Mediterranean region and beyond) will participate in the Conference as Keynote Speakers, exhibiting their long and rich experience with respect to the different areas that will be covered during the Conference. Dozens of businesses have demonstrated their great interest to participate in the Olive Exhibition, including agricultural companies, factories, nurseries, heritage centers, cultural centers, book-sale, olive-wooden industries (souvenirs), etc.
Conference’s Themes Symbolism of the Olive Tree: Historical, cultural, political and socioeconomic aspects. Olive Production: Olive cultivars, propagation, irrigation fertilization, cultivation and pruning, impacts of climate change on olive production, and harvest and post harvest techniques. Olive Protection Techniques: Olive diseases, integrated pest management, and biotechnical applications. Waste Management: Treatment and management of solid and liquid olive wastes. National and International Olive Oil Quality and Specifications: Specifications of Palestinian olive oil, production of organic oil, health benefits of olive oil, marketing, and physical and chemical tests.
Recommendations Based on the fact that the olive and olive oil sector is a major driver for the livelihood of many Palestinians, as well as for the economy and sustainable development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), technical and professional help from the European Training Foundation (ETF) and other European organizations, through our University (PTUK), in regard to training, research projects, and support in this sector is greatly important and will be greatly appreciated from the Palestinian people. Such assistance from the ETF and other European organizations will help in creating some coherence and balance between many economic, social, educational, and environmental aspects, which, in turn, will be of great rewards to the Palestinian people in the OPT.
A Big Thank-You from the People of Palestine to All Nations of Europe