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February 4, 2012

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Dear friends,
By the time you're reading this, the runners will be well into their trek north from At-tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. Palestine is seven hours ahead of EST, so you'll be receiving the news of their previous day's run on the following morning.

We are excited to share the second episode of The People and the Olive, our daily web series from the Run Across Palestine filmed and edited by Aaron Dennis of Stone Hut Studios and featuring our runners and media team as the explore the lives of farming communities in Palestine. Check it out here:

The People and the Olive - Part 2: At the Starting Line

In the second installment of the series, the runners travel south from Jerusalem to the small hillside community of At-Tuwani. On the day before the run begins, the runners plant 500 olive saplings with the villagers & forge a bond with their welcoming hosts.

Please watch the video & use this link to share the video on Facebook & elsewhere!

“‘They planted so we eat, we plant so they eat.’ Meaning: past generations planted these trees that we are eating from, that are supporting our lives, and we plant trees for future generations, to sustain their lives.”
~Nasser Abufarha, founder Canaan Fair Trade

The team arrived in At-Tuwani  yesterday — about half a mile from an Israeli settlement & an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. Jacob Wheeler, one of the journalists on the team, reports: "The contrast between the old bazaars & tourist hotels of the Holy City & At-Tuwani is incredible. Here the hilly landscape resembles a rocky moonscape, & here some residents still live in caves." See the route here.

Accompanying the team was a truck loaded with 500 donated olive saplings. They were led to an open field where Americans & Palestinians alike worked together to dig holes & plant the olive trees. They’ll mature in 15 years, says Wheeler, & "they'll feed & provide an export crop for generations of Palestinians, as long as they are not uprooted."

Finally, a word about Trees for Life, one of the programs RAP is supporting:

Trees for Life gives thousands of olive trees to farmers, including many whose trees or lands have been destroyed by Israeli forces. In five years, the project has planted almost 50,000 trees! Solely funded by grassroots movements abroad and soley invested in the Palestinian fair trade movement, Trees for Life helps offset the enormous destruction of olive trees by the Israeli occupation army in Palestine.

We're looking forward to hearing all about the runners' first day! Watch your inbox around 10 AM Sunday for more of the good word from Palestine.

Jennifer & the whole On the Ground crew

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