The Land of Olives and Vines: Our Heritage, Our Future – Al Makhrour Valley

Al Makhrour valley, located in Beit Jala, northwest of Bethlehem, Palestine is renowned for its historic agricultural terraces, rich biodiversity, and cultural significance. The valley is an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines: Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir”. Al Makhrour’s cultural and agricultural heritage reflects ancient farming practices and sustains the livelihoods of local communities through the cultivation of apricots, figs, grapes, and olives. Its significance extends to being a vital water source within the Western Aquifer Basin, an essential asset for Palestinian water security. This fertile valley faces imminent threat due to the policies of annexation pursued by Israel, with grave consequences for the local Palestinian communities. With Israel’s relentless policies of land confiscation and settlement expansion inside the occupied Palestinian territory “oPt”, the valley is the last remaining green open space accessible for Palestinians in the Bethlehem Governorate. The situation is aggravated by a new Israeli settlement that was planted in the heart of the valley in 2019 and is currently expanding.