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‘Playgrounds for Palestine’ is selling two olive oils here, to help kids there

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In 2000, a Palestinian-American biologist went back to her homeland for the first time in 18 years and was disturbed to see how few spaces there were for children to play. She loved taking her four-year-old daughter out to playgrounds in Philadelphia and watching how she got along with other kids. She wanted Palestinian children to have what her daughter had. She knew there was a Right to Play.

In that simple impulse, the biologist started an organization with a simple name, Playgrounds for Palestine, and started raising money.

No one’s life unfolds the way they expect. Susie Abulhawa had no idea she would become a novelist and outspoken advocate for Palestine. No idea she’d one day be debating Alan Dershowitz into the ground and getting deported from Israel twice and barred from speaking at a Palestinian literary festival… She was a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, and her organization began out of an instinctual understanding, not a political mission.

Susan Abulhawa (Photo: Dorthe Karlsen)

Today that organization is still with us. “I’ve long refocused my energies in different avenues,” Abulhawa told me. “But I love this project.”

And this spring Playgrounds for Palestine is launching a line of Palestinian olive oils for distribution in the United States, to build more playgrounds for Palestinian children, and support other child-centered projects.

PfP has built 39 playgrounds in Palestine and refugee camps. Many of the kids who use them have never seen such state-of-the art, colorful, durable and creative play systems.

The organization counts on locals to acquire the land, but then it brings in equipment and hires local workers at a cost of about $15,000-20,000 per playground. Some of its undertakings are very difficult indeed: Israel doesn’t make it easy for the equipment to come in through its port, and there are two playgrounds in Hebron, where settlers have shot at those trying to build playgrounds. And Playgrounds for Palestine is planning one more for the city.

“Our mission is to help Palestinians,” says Hanan Urick, co-chair of the organization along with Abulhawa. And Palestinians won’t travel to another village to get to a playground, because travel in the occupied territories is hard enough as it is.

PfP has three playgrounds in Gaza. And two of its playgrounds are skateboard parks for older children. It is seeking to extend its reach to Jordan. And two of its playgrounds are in Syria, whose condition is not known today.

You can help build playgrounds by buying Playground for Palestine olive oil. “Playgrounds for Palestine is launching AIDA, a private label olive oil as a way to continue to support our work for Palestinian children,” Abulhawa told me.

PfP had previously marketed oil from Canaan, the leading seller of Palestinian olive oils in the U.S. But they wanted their own oil; and the all-volunteer staff of PfP spent three years getting their own organic fair trade extra virgin sources. The result is two blends, with a label that borrows an image from the Institute for Palestine Studies. The Turath blend is from a cooperative called Al Reef, and the Premium blend is from Al Ard, both in the Nablus and Ramallah areas.

Olive oil for sale to benefit Playgrounds for Palestine.

So you’re supporting olive farmers too. This year was a tough year for farmers not only because of increased settler attacks, Abulhawa says, but the “olive fly” pest was particularly bad this year and it destroyed a lot of crops.

PfP has 3000 bottles of the oil, and 1500 tins. Going fast!

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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21 Responses

  1. Misterioso on May 18, 2019, 10:50 am

    Palestinian olive oil is the very best!!

  2. edthespark on May 19, 2019, 7:23 am

    Yes tried some.silky on the upstroke,great for the two stroke

    • echinococcus on May 19, 2019, 11:47 am

      Olive tree uprooters like you Zionists used to be the only criminals punished with death in ancient Greece. Time for us modern barbarians to get civilized and adopt their methods.

  3. jon s on May 19, 2019, 2:00 pm

    Is the oil available in Israel?
    Is it Kosher?
    I would be happy to buy it.

    • eljay on May 19, 2019, 5:34 pm

      || jon s: Is the oil available in Israel?
      Is it Kosher?
      I would be happy to buy it. ||

      Why would you buy it when you can just claim it’s yours and take it? You know, like you did with Palestine.

    • hai_bar on May 20, 2019, 4:26 am

      How do you define Kosher? Must be from stolen lands? This one is probably not.

    • Mooser on May 20, 2019, 12:35 pm

      “I would be happy to buy it.” “Jon s”

      Gee, maybe you could even try to stop your fellow-settlers from chopping down Palestinian olive trees. You old long-time activist.

  4. echinococcus on May 20, 2019, 7:58 am

    “Is the oil available in Israel?
    Is it Kosher?
    I would be happy to buy it.”

    How cute.

    Why buy when you can have oil from the stolen Palestinian olives, whose owners you murdered and expelled, and continue to do so?

    As American military personnel occupying Palestine, I am sure you’ll have access to the stolen oil.

    As for being kosher, no it’s not kosher for you. It doesn’t go well at all with gefilte fish and whatever else you guys eat.

    • RoHa on May 20, 2019, 7:07 pm

      Get this straight, echi.

      First principle: All Palestine (part of Eretz Israel) belongs to the Jews.*

      That means that the air, the water, the soil, and the sunlight falling on it belongs to the Jews.

      So when plant growing in that soil uses the sunlight, air, and water to form olives with oil in them, that oil also belongs to the Jews. (Even if the plant was tended, and the oil extracted, by an Arab-type person.)

      No stealing involved.


      (*Ask any Zionist, if you want confirmation.)

  5. jon s on May 20, 2019, 4:07 pm

    I was not being cynical. I would gladly purchase the olive oil as a small contribution to the playgrounds project. It looks like a worthy cause.
    My wife and I maintain a kosher home so I would prefer that it be kosher. But -just to be clear – it’s not a condition. Without a kashrut certificate I would still buy the oil, as support for the project, but maybe not consume it myself . I would give it away, or give it back.

    echi, I never murdered or expelled anyone or stole anything. As to “American military personnel ” – I assume that’s your idea of making a joke . As you say: how cute.

    • Mooser on May 21, 2019, 11:59 am

      ” I never murdered or expelled anyone or stole anything.”

      Of course not. You were born in the US (Medford, Conn.) and settled on land already expropriated and colonized.

    • Marnie on May 22, 2019, 12:05 am

      I never murdered anyone or expelled anyone either but as a jew I have rights that 25% of the population does not have because they aren’t jews. I never owned slaves but being a white american I benefitted only because of my white skin.

      “I was not being cynical”. Of course not, you’re just twisted. “Without a kashrut certificate……..” How cute. It’s olive oil FFS, it is already fit in and of itself and without the magik mumbo jumbo of some false priest. Forgot though, those kashrut certificates cost mucho benjamins, and that’s what its all about after all.

      • jon s on May 22, 2019, 10:02 am

        I note that noone has bothered to actually answer my question as to the availability of the olive oil.

      • eljay on May 22, 2019, 10:44 am

        || jon s: I note that noone has bothered to actually answer my question as to the availability of the olive oil. ||

        Playgrounds for Palestine / Contact

      • just on May 22, 2019, 11:59 am

        I guess reading comprehension is not your strong suit, jon s. From the article: “And this spring Playgrounds for Palestine is launching a line of Palestinian olive oils for distribution in the United States …” Maybe you can use your US address and the link provided. Or, try ordering from here:

        In the meantime, you must know that Aida is also a refugee camp for Palestinians. Right? I will share this with you from the Lajee Center in this camp:

        “…In 2012,Lajee Center was finally able to purchase the only available land near Aida Refugee Camp to insure some of the rights of our children, including the right to a safe place to play.

        “Since then we have worked collectively to turn the land into a beautiful playground and garden for the children and people of Aida Camp. The Garden of Lajee Center has eight olive trees, which since 2012, have been harvested by the children of Aida Camp. …

        In Aida Camp the season of harvesting olives started around a month ago, however we could not harvest the few olive trees we have at the garden of Lajee Center because the camp itself has been invaded by the Israeli Occupation Army on a daily basis. Commenting on the “Daddy Read to Me” event, Kifah Ajarma, coordinator of the library activities, said, “The children seem very happy to be able to play at the garden again.

        We had to organize all library activities in the center for about a month now as the Israeli Army invades the camp every day…” She added, “How I wish Abed Al-Rahman was with us today.

        He used to attend library activities especially when we arranged them under the olive trees of Lajee’s garden.” 12-year-old Abed Al-Rahman, was killed in Aida Camp by the Israeli Army last month on his way back from school.

        Kifah also commented, “Every year hundreds of children participate in the “Daddy Read to Me” workshops at Lajee Center. This year most of the children from the camp and neighboring areas could not come regularly to the center because the playground, the center, as well as the refugee camp, were targeted by the Israeli Occupation Army.”She added, “Small children with their school bags running through clouds of teargas come to Lajee Center to read and learn.

        Although we insure that the kids are protected to the best extent we can, it is hard to control the traumatic effects and fear that our children have to live through every day…” Recently the Israeli Army has warned the residents of Aida Camp, “We will gas you until you die. The children, the youth, and the old people, all of you…” We, however, will continue to exist, and to resist the oppression of the colonizers and continue to raise our young generations to be educated, strong and able to overcome the difficulties of living under occupation until one day when they will be the leaders of a free Palestine.”

        Oh and btw~ you are next door to all of the Occupied. Ask your fellow Occupiers these questions. Since the Occupation armies prevent movement of Palestinian people, goods, etc., I really doubt that they’ll allow glorious Palestinian olive oil into Israel to compete with the stolen ones marketed in Israel. Please do encourage your fellow settlers to cease destroying Palestinian olive trees, herds, crops, etc. That would be helpful.

      • Mooser on May 22, 2019, 12:15 pm

        “I have rights that 25% of the population does not have because they aren’t jews. I never owned slaves but being a white american I benefitted only because of my white skin.”

        Exactly. That’s why Zionists are so insistent that Jews are just another kind of white person.

        And BTW, “Jon s”, you haven’t answered the question of how “Beersheba” got to be there.

      • jon s on May 22, 2019, 4:46 pm

        eljay, just,
        Thanks for responding.

      • eljay on May 22, 2019, 5:21 pm

        || jon s: eljay, just,

        Thanks for responding. ||

        You’re welcome.  :-)

  6. just on May 21, 2019, 9:37 am

    “Israel to Demolish Playground in Unrecognized Bedouin Village …

    Israel issued on Sunday a demolition order for a children’s playground in an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, even though the state has no plans to evacuate the community.

    Odeh Zanoun, head of the residents’ committee in Rahkhma, says that the playground equipment was put up two years ago by one of the residents near his home.

    “Anyone who wants to come can do so, he was doing us a favor,” he said. “From afternoon until evening the kids have nothing to do, they sit at home. So they made them some poles and swings, and even that they want to demolish.”

    The Land Administration said “The playground equipment was erected on state lands without a permit and without coordination, and worse, without any safety certification, together with additional illegal construction. This is a hazard that constitutes trespassing and a public safety hazard.”

    Rakhma is home to some 850 people, who are spread over 16 plots of land near the Israeli town of Yeruham, about 35 km south of Be’er Sheva in the Negev Desert.

    In 2009, authorities demolished a preschool in the village, only to later build another one following a court petition. It has no educational institutions other than preschools and there is no playground or community center, and the village’s children must travel long distances to school. …”

    More @


    • RoHa on May 22, 2019, 2:18 am

      Just, have you ever seen what kids do in a playground? They climb, jump, swing, slide, spin, run, crawl under and through things … It’s a training ground for terrorists!

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