Hello Spring – Let’s have Freekeh with Asparagus

An article written by our guest author Selina Reusser

It’s Asparagus and Spinach Season!

 

By using seasonal veggies and fruit, you not only do something good for the environment, but also for your health. The seasonal produce is much fresher and  contains more vitamins and nutrients, because the transport from the field to your kitchen is cut shorter. In addition, you can bring some variety in your cooking routine by regularly taking a look in a seasonal calendar.

Harvest season for fresh asparagus and baby spinach in Germany has just begun, thats why we prepared this super delicious and simple Freekeh recipe for you.

Ingredients:

Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
1 large Onion (optional spring onions)
2 Cloves of Garlic
800ml Vegetable Broth
250g Freekeh
1 Bunch of regional Green Asparagus
½ Lemon
100g Baby Spinach
Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
Pomegranate Seeds (optional)
Parsley (optional)

 

Preparation Time:

40 – 50 min

 

Portions:

2 big Portions

  • Bio-Freekeh FriedenspäckchenPeace Kit: Organic Freekeh from Palestine, 250g

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Instructions:

 

Begin by preparing all your ingredients: cut the onion into small pieces, prepare the vegetable broth and heat the oven to 220°C. Next, wash the spinach and the asparagus. Continue by peeling the bottom third of the asparagus spears and by cutting off the stem ends. You can put the asparagus on a tray lined with baking paper and then marinate with salt, pepper, olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Optionally you can quarter a handful of cherry tomatoes and bake them together with the asparagus.Heat some olive oil in a large pan, fry the onion until soft, but not golden. After 8 minutes add the garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes.As soon as the mixture is glassy, stir the freekeh into the onions. If prefered, add the cherry tomatoes to the mix. Now add the vegetable broth, a ladleful at a time. It takes about 30 minutes for the Freekeh to absorb the broth, if necessary add more broth – it is important that you constantly stir your Freekeh. During this time, place the asparagus in the preheated oven.After about 30 minutes, you can again add a little more water to your Freekeh (optionally also some parsley), and let it cook for another 10 minutes with the lid closed.At the end, stir in the fresh baby spinach and mix it carefully into the Freekeh, until the greens are tender and heated through. Now you can season everything to your taste with salt, pepper, paprika, and the rest of the lemon juice and take the asparagus out of the oven.Serve the freekeh on a plate and place some asparagus on top. Garnish your dish optionally with pomegranate seeds, cherry tomatoes, and parsley.The team from Conflictfood wishes you Guten Appetit!

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Christmas has a world capital: BETHLEHEM

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine a place where within only 150 meters church bells are ringing and a muezzin is calling for the prayer from a minaret. In the centre of Bethlehem located at the Manger Place you will find both coming from the Christian Church of Nativity and the Omar mosque. Here Muslims and Christians live together – peacefully!

The Manger place in Bethlehem. For an 360°-experience, click on the image!

During our journey through Palestine Conflictfood also explored the city of Bethlehem for one week. The traditional cityscape of Bethlehem has been influenced by all those different dynasties that used to rule this place. When you are strolling through the century-old alleys you will encounter impressive churches, venerable monasteries and mosques. Arabic, Byzantine, Turkish and Roman influences build a unique foundation for a multi-cultural hub.

beautiful Bethlehem

In 2012 the UNESCO declared the Church of Nativity and the ancient pilgrim’s path leading to Bethlehem a world heritage. And despite of the ongoing Middle East conflict millions of people still visit this spiritual place.

At Christmas time, the Church of Nativity is illuminated with an especially festive atmosphere. Build around 326 BC at the alleged place of birth of Jesus, the building marks the centre of Christian belief at Christmas season. Almost everyone knows the story of Maria and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem and her giving birth to their son, the leading figure of Christianity.

Inside the vaulted cellars of the Church of Nativity. For an 360°-experience, click on the image!

Friendship and common grounds

Located in the Palestinian mountains this city is not only a pilgrim’s place for Christians, but also attracts people from other religions – in Jewish narratives it is the birth place of the legendary King David and prophet Muhammad stopped here for a prayer while travelling to Jerusalem.Since 1995 Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. Today around 30.000 people are living in city. According to a survey of the Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue, 90 % of the Christian population indicated that they have Muslim friends and 73 % believe that the Palestinian Authority respects the Christian heritage of the city.

An Arabic Bible

Bethlehem’s colourful alleys

Jesus of Nazareth – the son of Maria (Īsā ibn Maryam) – plays an important role in Islam, he is one of the major prophets. That is why Muslims honour his birthplace, too. Maybe it is this unifying religious spirit that saved the Nativity Church from being destroyed over the past centuries.

Exactly, this reflection and communication of shared religious beliefs and values is able to bring around and safe peace. With this in mind, Conflictfood wishes you peaceful holidays, or like the people from Bethlehem would say:‘a glorious birth feast’, Eid Milad Majid!

Read more about Palestine

Chocolate Chip Freekies

Freekies – Cookies crispy cousin!

 

It is Freekeh-Friday again which means it is the perfect time to fight the grey foggy evening and curl up under a blanket with warm drinks and of course – Chocolate Freekies!

What you need for Chocolate Chip Freekies:

 

500 g flour

½ tsp natron

230 g unstalted butter

115 g cane sugar

230 g brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

150 g freekeh

300 g chocolate chips

300 g cranberries

Instructions:

 

First turn the oven on to 200 degrees and prepare the freekeh. Clean the freekeh with water and bring it to a boil for 13 minutes so we can add it in the end.

You are going to grab your biggest bowl and get your mixer out to cream the butter and all the sugar together. It is an important step to allow the sugar to melt and mix with the butter. The brown sugar is the secret for a chewy cookie because it has molasses. Once you have creamed the butter, cane- and brown sugar, add one egg at a time and the vanilla extract.

Now it is time to mix the dry ingredients on the side. Fold the natron and salt in with the flour. Add it to the dough and stir just until its evenly mixed. You do not want to activate the gluten too much as it affects the texture.Get your freekeh out to add to the cookie dough. At this point the chocolate chips and cranberries also goes in. Here is where you can get really creative and play with your own combination.

Place small flat portions of cookie dough on your oven tray with a baking sheet over. And watch your chocolate freekies get golden and crispy – it will only take 10-15 minutes.

As a disclaimer, Conflictfood would like to let you know that these chocolate freekies are nutty and delicious, your roommate could easily finish them before you!

  • Bio-Freekeh FriedenspäckchenPeace Kit: Organic Freekeh from Palestine, 250g

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The team from Conflictfood wishes you Guten Appetit!

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Palestinian olive trees – a peace symbol within water conflicts

There are ways out of the water crisis in Palestine and they do not only depart from olive groves but also from freekeh fields…Around 800 000 olive trees have been uprooted in the conflict between Israel and Palestine since 1967 – an area of 33 central parks or more than 15000 soccer fields. The effects on the economy are disastrous. Moreover this is an offence of the self-conception of Palestinian farmers, for one, because the cultivation the symbolic olive trees became part of their identity over the past centuries, for another, because these trees form the basis of their lives within the harsh times of draughts.Water shortages are a substantial problem in Palestine. Even though potentially there is enough water available for all residents, many communities aren’t sufficiently supplied. Well constructions are strictly controlled and are subjected to special military permits. Moreover, the Israeli state-owned company Mekorot is coordinating the water supply. While the Israeli population have approx. 300 litres of water per capita at their disposal, Palestinians get only 70 litres delivered per day – 30 litres less than the WHO’s recommendation a day per capita.You can recognize the Palestinian houses and villages from afar because of the water tanks on top of their roofs. Inside the tanks, families store water to survive the draughts in summer.

In the past summer the water crisis reached catastrophic a new level – in some villages nearby Salfit, Jenin and Hebron water supply stopped for 40 days. Enas Taha, a resident of village of Kafr al-Deek told Al-Jazeera: „I am checking the weather forecast every day. (…) I have to consider and prioritise every single drop of water I use. We have barely enough to drink, cook, shower and use the bathroom. Sometimes I don’t do the laundry or clean the house for weeks. It is hot and dusty. This is exhausting.”Bad water supplies do not only affect Palestinian households, but also agriculture and bio diversity. Since it is impossible to water the field sufficiently, many traditional kind of fruits and vegetables cannot be cultivated anymore. The result is a high concentration on particular plants that can survive with the scarce rainfalls in winter – like the olive tree.Some olive trees in Palestine are up to 4000 years old. They account to the oldest trees on the planet and for generations Palestinian families cultivated those trees.

Historically, the olive tree always was associated with a special meaning – it’s robustness symbolically stands for resilience, resistance and peace. In the biblical narration of the flood noah send a pigeon to check the situation which came back to the arch to bring the good news „land in sight“ holding an olive branch in it’s beak. Also the Quran relates to the oil tree, giving off light to all. Later on, in the middle of the 20th century Pablo Picasso takes up this image with a drawing for the world congress of peace – the famous dove of peace carrying an olive branch in the beak.

Nowadays, olives account for 70% of the fruit and vegetable production of Palestine generating around 14% of the economic income. More than 80 000 families depend on those green and juicy stone fruits. Still, although olive trees form the base of income for many Palestinians, their cultivation leaves some bitter side effects behind. The strong focus on olive cultivation results in an oversupply leading to a drop in prices. Hence, also the lucky farmers whose olive trees have not been destroyed in the conflict increasingly have to face precarious conditions of production.That is why Conflictfood carefully evolved an idea on how to sustainably support Palestinian farmers and ecological diversity – we want to create a long lasting demand for the traditional power grain freekeh without exploiting Palestinian agricultural structures.

Freekeh can be sustainable alternative with respect to the water scarcity because it is harvested while it is still green and unripe. Therefore it’s cultivation process requires less water than any other grain’s one!You can find this water-efficient grain with the freaky name in our webshop in organic quality!

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Freekeh soup – heartwarming and full of flavor

Let’s cook freekeh soup!

 

It’s freezing cold today!  The best way to get through this chilly days is have a plate full of hot and heart-warming freekeh- soup. This soup is full of flavor and warmth with its many different spices. All you need to stay warm tonight is to do is follow these simple instructions:

Ingredients:

 

3 cloves of garlic

1 onion

1 red bell pepper

1 large tomato

200g Conflictfood Freekeh

½ bouquet of parsley

½ bouquet of fresh mint

1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of curcuma

A pinch of nutmeg1 tablespoon of

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon of agave syrup

1 tablespoon of salt

1 liter of water

2 tablespoons of rape seed oil

Instructions:

 

Heat up a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of rape seed oil. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of the knife. Fry them and add one finely chopped onion.

When the onions are tender, add pepper, tomato and your mix finely chopped parsley and fresh mint.To the mixture you want to add thoroughly rinsed Freekeh. Freekeh can have little stones or traces of ash from the harvest and burning process. There fore rinse the freekeh in cold water a couple of times before cooking. Now add cinnamon, curcuma and nutmeg to the fried veggies and freekeh. Stir it all together and let the aroma infuse the ingredients.After we have let it sit for a few minutes to infuse we start adding apple cider vinegar, salt and agave syrup to create the soup liquid. Here you can also use cane sugar or local honey for sweetness. Add about one liter of water and bring it back to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes if you use broken coarse freekeh or 30-40 minutes if you use whole grain freekeh.

 

Check out our free Freekeh Cookbook and find more exciting recipes!

The team from Conflictfood wishes you Guten Appetit!

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Freesotto

We’ve already experienced how variant risotto can be with our last recipe for saffron risotto. Now we want to introduce another variation. We’ll switch from risotto rice to our organic Freekeh from Palestine, that you can now order in our online shop. The smoky taste of the grain will give a very special note to the dish.

 

Preparation Time:

35 minutes

Servings:

4 Portions

Ingredients

 

250 g Conflictfood Freekeh

2-3 onions

250 g mushrooms

½ bunch of parsley

150 ml vegetable stock

50 g butter

olive oil

freshly grated parmesan

salt & freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

 

Start by boiling a litre of water in a big pot. Add a pinch of salt, a dash of olive oil and the Freekeh, then let it cook for about 25 minutes. Cut the onions into little cubes and put them into a hot pan with a little olive oil. Then add the cut mushrooms and stew it in the pan until the liquid is evaporated. Continue to add the cooked Freekeh and the smoothly chopped parsley. While stirring steadily, add the vegetable stock, until the consistency becomes creamy. Finish the dish with a little piece of butter and some freshly ground pepper. If you prefer your dish to be vegan, just leave those ingredients out. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper at the end: enjoy!

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Taboulé with Freekeh

Who can relate? You are coming home after an exhausting day of work, starving, but you have no motivation what so ever to hit the kitchen and cook. We’ll help you out! Why not just prepare a delicious Freekeh Tabouleh Salad the day before. You can keep in the fridge and still eat it the next day.

Time to prepare: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

 

250 g Freekeh

1 cucumber

2 tomatoes

1 red pepper

2 shallots

1 bunch fresh, smooth parsley

1 bunch of mint

2 ts olive oil

salt & freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

 

Cook the Freekeh in a pot with water and a dash of salt. Reduce the heat and let it cook for another 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove, let it cool off and pour off the excess water. Now it’s time to get chopping: cut the cucumber, tomatoes, pepper and shallots into small cubes and after that chop the parsley and the mint. Add all the ingredients into a big bowl and mingle with the Freekeh. Finish the dish with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Ready to enjoy!

Tip: The salad can be stored in the fridge so you can easily prepare it the previous day. It will give the flavour time soak through.

Read more about recipes

 

Freaky Fruit Salad

Finally the time has come, the wait is over! Now available in our online-shop is Freekeh. Time to include it into our daily cooking habits! We will start this off by preparing the fruity and fresh Freekeh-Mango-Salad, which will make us look forward to summer even more.

Ingredients

 

200 g Freekeh

2 tsp sugar

1 mango

100 g walnuts

50 g honey

1 lemon

50 g raisins

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of salt

 

Time to prepare:

40 minutes

Servings:

4

Instructions:

 

Put the Freekeh into a pot of water and let it cook for 30 minutes. Mix the sugar into a bowl of lukewarm water and wait until it dissolves. Strain the Freekeh, add it to the sugar water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Remove the excess water. Cut the mango into small pieces and chop the walnuts as well. Afterwards mix the ingredients with the Freekeh. To finish add honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and a pinch of salt to the salad. Aaaaand… Done!

 

In case you want your salad to be even more fruity or you have some seasonal fruits left, go ahead and pimp your salad the way you want to. Weather with apples or pears for a sweet variation or grapefruit, pomegranate, kiwi and lime for a fresh-sour version, get creative, experiment with everything and find out what you like the most.

Here you can buy our Conflictfood Freekeh

  • Bio-Freekeh FriedenspäckchenPeace Kit: Organic Freekeh from Palestine, 250g

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Why is freekeh such a health booster?

An article provided by our guest author Stinamy Jørgensen, BA in Nutrition and Health

Freekeh is an ancient grain first mentioned in a cookbook from Bagdad in the early thirteenth-century. It is a durum wheat, harvested young and roasted over an open fire. As the grain is still young and very moist, it does not burn. This process results in a delicious grain with a nutty and smoked flavour.

According to an old story, a village in the Eastern Mediterranean was afraid of being attacked and therefore decided to harvest and to store their crops early. Despite their efforts, the storage of green durum wheat was set on fire. But soon they discovered that the grain was not only still edible – it was actually very delicious! Later we found that this process in fact creates the high amount of nutrients in Freekeh! As harvested early, the amount of nutrients is higher than in a later period of ripening. Freekeh is a “nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for your health and well-being” – some even call it a superfood!It has several benefits and is unique in its high amount of fiber. It contains two times more than quinoa and even four times more than brown rice. Your daily intake of fiber should be 30 to 38 grams if you are a man and 21 to 25 grams for women. As Freekeh consists of up to 16,5% of fiber, it can surely boost your fiber intake!

Freekeh might not be well known here – yet. Neither is fiber recognized as a healthy and important nutrient. But still, they have an important influence on you and your body!

Fibers help you to keep a healthy body weight. They are filling and keep you full for a longer time. Additionally, fibers help controlling your blood sugar level by slowing down the absorption of sugar and they maintain your bowel health. In addition to that, Freekeh has a low glycemic index. This leads to carbohydrates being broken down and being absorbed slower, providing your body with longer lasting energy.It is also a good source of protein. Among other things, proteins are used by our bodies to produce enzymes and hormones. Your body cannot store proteins as it does with fat or carbohydrates. Therefore, it is important to have a regular intake. Freekeh contains 15,8 grams per 100 grams. In comparison with brown rice, which only contains 7,6 grams. Even though Freekeh is high on proteins, it is still low on fat, with less than 1 gram per 100 grams. On top of this, Freekeh is high on calcium, iron and zink

Preparing your dish with Freekeh is not complicated at all – you simply boil it in water! It takes about 40 minutes and only 20 minutes if your Freekeh is already grounded!

You can use it as a side dish instead of rice or make a soup, salad or stew! You can even use it for baking! There are numerous ways to prepare your dish with Freekeh. And all of them are delicious. Here you will find some recipes!Sources: freekehlicious.com , nutritionfacts.org

Here you can buy our healthy Conflictfood Freekeh

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Agriculture and politics in Palestine – 2

An article provided by our guest author Fini Hennig

Read part 1 here

Part Two:

„Made in Palestine“ – Ethical consumption and resistance

Considering all the limitations that result from the occupation, it is not surprising that agriculture and consumption are important sites of resistance. Although the situation has worsened during the last two decades, numerous farms, companies and initiatives refuse to be discouraged by the current conditions. They keep on cultivating, producing and maintaining their businesses, often alongside with a social and ecological focus and increased networking.

Farmers founded cooperatives already during the first Intifada in the 1980ies in order to create an alternative to Israeli products. After the failed peace negotiations followed by the second Intifada from 2002-2005, the division of the Palestinian leadership and the increasing power of right-wing parties in Israel, a movement of small business owners is currently being established in Palestine that is trying to make the best out of the worsening situation. This movement not only consists of farmers, but also of businesses and initiatives from other sectors such as architecture, arts and crafts, design and tourism. On the one hand, they aim to strengthen the Palestinian economy, secure livelihoods, as well as maintain and create jobs. On the other hand, they try to preserve and advance traditional agriculture, small trade and handicraft. In the end, they try to reach economic independence from Israel whenever and wherever possible.¹Farmers start working together in cooperatives, creating distribution channels, exchanging knowledge and establishing quality standards. Just as it is the case with Freekeh, farmers return to traditional farming methods and varieties, growing plants that need less water such as almonds. Another project is dedicated to the preservation of local plant varieties by establishing a seed bank (Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library). Cheese factories maintain traditional manufacturing techniques while experimenting with new methods. People start to catch up with global trends, such as the production of craft beer, winemakers start using indigenous grapes for their wines, other initiatives work on permaculture projects. And these are only a few examples.Furthermore, many farmers see themselves as part of the global struggle against agri-monopolists, vanishing biodiversity and GMO, fighting for ecologically and climatically sustainable cultivation methods as well as the preservation of local varieties and biodiversity. Not only do they work for economic independence from Israel, but also from international development aid, which mainly supports industrial agriculture and mass production, with all its negative impacts on climate, local varieties and the environment. Correspondingly, mainly small-scale farmers, and among them often womens’ cooperatives, are the ones who produce so-called baladi-products.

Baladi” means “from my land” and is commonly used in Palestine for locally grown fruits and vegetables. They are mostly not treated with insectizides and fertilizers and possess a high nutritional value. Although there is no standard for organic farming in Palestine, many producers try at least to adhere to Fair Trade regulations. At the same time, they try to establish their own quality standards, as the Fair Trade regulations cannot always be adapted to regional cultivation requirements. Furthermore, many farmers do not want to produce for the global, but for the local market.

And the local market witnesses an increasing demand in baladi products. Agriculture and the preservation of the land are held dearly in Palestinian society, as well as good food. And good food requires high quality products that many families still prefer to purchase directly from local farmers they know for a long time. In places where this is not possible anymore, initiatives establish delivery services and farmer markets in order to reconnect producers and consumers again.Therefore, baladi products are purchased not only for their excellent taste, but also due to a growing consciousness that the consumption of local products strengthens the Palestinian economy, fosters independence from Israel and contributes to the preservation and advancement of Palestinian culture. Last but not least, what we eat is part of our personal history and shapes our identity. Therefore, the production and consumption of products “Made in Palestine” is an act of peaceful resistance against the occupation and a means of self-preservation – not only on the economical but also on the cultural level.

I think it is time to draw attention to this movement and support it, and this is exactly what Conflictfood is aiming for with its activities in Palestine! The purchase guide Conscious Choices. A guide to Ethical Consumerism in Palestine by Muna Dajani und Lina Isma’il , published by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, provides a great overview of the Palestinian development. The authors present Palestinian food producers, art industries, handicraft businesses, stores and initiatives who are dedicated to production of local products, produced under ecological guidelines and fair working conditions. The guidebook was the main source for this chapter. Fini Hennig is a social anthropologist specialized on the MENA region and currently studying Sustainable Tourism Management at the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde. She also loves the food of the region and is wiriting her master thesis about Palestinian cuisine and its meaning for constructing a collective Palestinian identity in Palestine and beyond.

Here you find our Freekeh from Palestine

  • Bio-Freekeh FriedenspäckchenPeace Kit: Organic Freekeh from Palestine, 250g

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    •  250g organic Freekeh from Palestine • Harvested green, roasted on flames •  Included: Journal „Voices of Palestine“ •  Certified organic

  • Fünf FriedenspäckchenTake Five! 5x Peace Kits

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     1g saffron from Afghanistan  100g organic green tea “Silver Shan” • 100g organic black tea “Golden Shan” • 80g organic black tea “Red Amber” • 250g organic freekeh from Palestine • Includes journals “Voices of ...” • Teas and freekeh are certified organic

  • Conflictfood GeschenkkorbConflictfood Gift Selection

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Agriculture and politics in Palestine – Part 1

An article provided by our guest author Fini Hennig

When thinking of Middle Eastern cuisine, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is humus and falafel – dishes that can easily be found in most cities around the world. What most people don’t know is that the Middle Eastern cuisine has a lot more to offer. Therefore, Conflictfood’s last journey took them all the way to Palestine to discover the region’s delicacies. But why of all places Palestine?

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been a pressing issue for years and no resolution seems to be in sight. At this stage, it is the Palestinian population suffering from the Israeli occupation, being left with little perspective. The occupation does not only influence political integrity and daily routines, but comes with profound impacts on the Palestinian economy and agriculture. This is a critical matter for a society with centuries of agricultural tradition. Therefore, Conflictfood decided to support small Palestinian farmers by establishing new distribution channels and thereby creating new perspectives for securing their livelihood.

Part 1: Most essential lines of conflict between Israel and Palestine

When Conflictfood talks about Palestine, they refer to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which according to the Oslo agreement were meant to form the state of Palestine. Both territories, including Jerusalem, Sinai in the South and the Golan Heights in the North, were conquered by Israel during the Six-Day war in 1967. Sinai was ascribed back to Egypt in 1982, whereas the status of the Golan-Heights remains unsolved. This region is claimed by Syria, but as there is no peace agreement reached so far, part of the Golan-Heights are annexed by Israel while other parts are still governed by the UN. The Israeli military withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and all Jewish settlements in the area were dissolved. Still – this region is cordoned off. Jerusalem remains with a special status but de facto functions as the capital of Israel. The West Bank as well as the Eastern part of Jerusalem are claimed by Palestinians but have been occupied by Israel for more than 50 years now. And still, a resolution of the conflict seems to be further away than ever before.

In the following, focus will be put on the agricultural situation of the West Bank. Due to the political division of the Palestinian leadership and the total Israeli blockade, the current conditions at the Gaza Strip would require a proper blog post on its own. As a consequence of the Israeli blockade, Conflictfood is only able to operate in the West Bank.

According to the UN partition plan of 1947, the British mandate territory in Palestine should have been separated into two states: one for the Jews and the other one for the Arabs. But the Arab population did not accept the partition plan. After the expiration of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent state – and the surrounding Arab states declared war against Israel. During the first Israeli-Arab war in 1948-49, Israel was able to conquer further territories originally assigned to the Arab population of Palestine. The war ended in 1949. Along with the ceasefire the so-called “Green Line” was established, which was negotiated in the course of the Oslo process between 1993 and 1995 to constitute the future two-State solution. The Green Line marks the borders between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank – the latter a border barely noticeable for the Israeli population but a frontier with significant presence for the Palestinians.

Refugees

Ever since the formation of the Israeli state, the history of Palestine has been shaped by occupation of land, flight and expulsion. The wars between 1947-49 and 1967 have forced about one million people to flee their homeland. Ever since, most of the displaced people and their descendants live in refugee camps located in the West Bank or in the neighbouring Arab states as well as scattered around the globe. The right of return for Palestinian refugees has been a major issue in the conflict and has caused the failure of former peace negotiations. The Palestinians demand the unrestricted right of return for all refugees and their descendants to their place of origin – no matter if this place has been in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or in Israel. Israel rejects this solution fearing that the Jews would no longer be the majority of the Israeli population, which would contradict the fundamental Zionist idea of a Jewish majority within the Jewish state.

Settlements

The question of the dissolvement of the Jewish settlements built on Palestinian territory has always been another important issue within recent peace negotiations. Since the Six-Day war in 1967, the Israeli government has pushed forward the constructions of Jewish settlements in spite of international law agreements that consider these settlements as illegal. Whereas the settlements in the Gaza Strip were dissolved in 2005, the ones in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem continue to grow, currently accomodating up to 550.000 people. Nowadays, not only right-wing religious people move to the settlements, but also ordinary Israelis with no pronounced political motivation Government-subsidized land prices make living there attractive, leading in turn to an overall normalization of the settlements within the Israeli society.During the past decades, huge blocks able to accomodate up to 40.000 people were developed, including complete urban infrastructures and facilities. They are usually arranged in strategically favourable positions, placed on hilltops overlooking the Palestinian villages or cities nearby. Up to now, there are about 125 officially authorized settlements in the West Bank and approximately 100 so-called outposts. The latter are not officially authorized but tolerated by the Israeli government. In the beginning, these outposts usually consist of a conglomeration of caravans that are successively replaced by fortified buildings alongside with the construction of basic infrastructure. This is how a new settlement is born. The official settlements do not only have an excellent infrastructure but their own streets directly connecting them with Israel. Thus, a parallel transportation infrastructure is being built that the Palestinians are not allowed to use.

© http://visualizingpalestine.org/

Furthermore, the freedom of movement of the Palestinian population is severely restricted with 27 fortified checkpoints as well as mobile checkpoints that may pop up anywhere. All these aspects contribute to the further fragmentation of the West Bank and the increasing loss of agricultural land.

Area A, B, C

In the 1990s the Oslo process was supposed to initiate the formation of the Palestinian state including the gradual withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Occupied Territories. But the dispute about the distribution of territories continued, especially concerning the West Bank. Therefore, the West Bank was divided into different administrative areas with different degrees of Israeli influence. Today, long after the failure of the peace negotiations in 2002 those administrative areas still exist. The occupation of Palestinian territories remains and the two-State solution is increasingly unlikely. The administrative partition of the West Bank has a huge impact on the Palestinian economy, particularly on the agricultural sector.

Only 18% of the West Bank – mainly the bigger cities – are fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority. This is Area A, where barely any agricultural activity is happening. Area B accounts for 22% of the West Bank and primarily includes the villages and rural areas surrounding the urban centers. Area B is also governed by the Palestinian Civilian Administration, but political and security matters are still controlled by Israel. Finally, accounting for 60% of the whole West Bank, Area C is completely subject to the Israeli security control. Additionally, Israel controls any territorial matters and the entire infrastructure. Area C mainly consists of agricultural regions as well as of most of the Jewish settlements. Here Palestinians are not allowed to construct buildings or interfere in infrastructural matters. And the Israeli government can expropriate their land at any time.

The wall

In 2002 the constructions of the wall started as a result of the failed peace negotiations and the second Intifada. The wall is built along the Green Line that was established after the first Israeli-Arab war in 1948, but also beyond invading great parts of the West Bank. Whereas the Green Line counted 320 kilometres, the length of the whole wall will be about 700 kilometres upon completion.

© http://visualizingpalestine.org/

Jewish settlements located in the West Bank nearby the Green Line are cut off from Palestinian territory. Furthermore, 80% of the separation barrier complex is built on Palestinian territory – sometimes as broad as 60 metres. Constructions are supposed to finish in 2020 and about 15% of the former West Bank area will then be located on the Israeli side of the wall. In some cases, the wall even divides or encompasses whole cities and villages, thereby separating farmers from their fields. In addition, the wall facilitates the control of imports and exports of goods from and to Palestine. Import and export are only possible through Israeli harbours and thus heavily depend on the Israeli military as well as the customs and border control, who regularly impede smooth delivery of goods from and to the West Bank. Furthermore, Palestinian manufacturers pay high taxes on exports, whereas Israel can introduce goods free of charge in the Occupied Territories. Because of these regulations Israeli products overrun Palestinian markets offering prices that neither farmers nor food manufacturers or handicraft businesses in Palestine are able to keep up with. Furthermore, there is a lack of consistent political strategies from the government that could strengthen the local Palestinian economy. And financial funding from development cooperations mainly focuses on agricultural businesses with a global market orientation. Thus, standardisation and industrialisation are promoted at the expense of local agricultural diversity and small businesses that are unable to compete. In summary, the settlements, the ongoing territorial fragmentation of the West Bank and the separation wall push forward land seizure and expulsion of the Palestinian population. All together, this poses a huge threat to the Palestinian agriculture, which accounts for 13% of the GDP and supports up to 70-100.000 families.

Scarcity of water

Another fundamental issue in the West Bank is the scarcity of water. Water supply and related infrastructure is entirely controlled by the Israeli state enterprise Mekorot. Even though resources of water in the West Bank would be extensive enough to supply all inhabitants, Palestinian communities do not receive sufficient amounts, especially during hot summer seasons. The Israeli population receives about 300 litres per capita, whereas only 70 litres per capita are delivered to the Palestinians in the West Bank. This is even 30 litres less than the daily minimum need recommended by the WHO. One can recognize Palestinian villages from afar by their black water tanks on their rooftops. Those tanks are used to store water during periods when no water is delivered through the pipes. To get through the summer period, people are forced to additionally buy water from Mekorot, which is delivered to them with trucks.

© http://visualizingpalestine.org/

Scarcity of water does not only concern households, but also influences the agricultural sector and the biodiversity of Palestine. If fields cannot be watered properly, many fruits and vegetables cannot mature and therefore are no longer cultivated. As a consequence focus is laid on plants like olives, which survive with the amount of water they get during the rainfalls in winter. This focus causes an oversupply resulting in price drops that in turn worsen the farmers’ situation.In addition, the Israeli military and settlers have intentionally destroyed 800.000 of the 10 million olive trees growing in Palestine. This has not only economic consequences, but also invades the farmers’ self-conception as guardians of the land and its fruits – especially olive trees. For centuries, cultivating and caring for the Biblical olive tree has been an integral part of Palestinian identity.

Ultimately, all the issues mentioned above severely impact and limit a diverse, profitable and high-quality agriculture in the West Bank.

© http://visualizingpalestine.org/

What Palestinian farmers do to improve their situation? Find out with our next blog post.

Fini Hennig is a social anthropologist specialized on the MENA region and currently studying Sustainable Tourism Management at the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde. She also loves the food of the region and is wiriting her master thesis about Palestinian cuisine and its meaning for constructing a collective Palestinian identity in Palestine and beyond.

Read more about Palestine

Conflictfood and Slowfood

Slow Food instead of Fast Food

Food equals pleasure – tasty and responsible enjoyment. This is why Conflictfood is looking for culinary specialties from conflict regions, in order to strengthen their local structures.Building such business relationships cannot be done overnight – it requires sensitivity and – is ‘slow’! Slowfood is an organization that was founded 30 years ago as a movement against the increasing popularity of fast food and they committed to saving our marvellous culinary culture.Slowfood’s criterion is good, clean and fair: Excellent taste, sustainable production and rewarding workers fairly.  Food has to be produced in a manner that neither humans nor nature or animals are harmed. This cannot be achieved by rushing through it – represented by Slowfood’s logo: an edible snail. Quality needs time. It includes a sustainable and environmental friendly production, which is also necessary to protect our biodiversity. To secure the protection of our biodiversity, Slowfood launched an additional project ten years ago: The Ark of taste. Eat what needs to be saved! The Ark of Taste takes in passengers, which cannot survive due to today’s market conditions, referring to animals, plans, food and farming methods, which are threatened with extinction.

The Biodiversity of Palestine

At this year’s Stadt Land Food Festival, we, Conflictfood, and Slowfood Berlin joined forces to taste the culinary diversity of Palestine.Our diverse food is closely linked to our cultural identity. What is not demanded will not be produced and a great part of our cultural heritage fades away. Identity, especially cultural identity, plays an important role for people living and surviving in Palestine. Hence, such important traditional and cultural heritages can be found in their kitchen as well, for instance Akkoub and Loof. Both plants are considered delicacies – if one knows how to prepare it well. Akkoub is a wild plant, which can be found in the mountain scenery. Its preparation was once celebrated as a ritual. Loof is another passenger whose preparation is considered very difficult, as the raw plant is poisonous and if not prepared right, it has a strong bitter taste. Due to these hindrances both of these plants are in danger of disappearing from our culinary world.Another passenger, who has taken a special seat on the Ark, is Freekeh. Freekeh is a green harvested wheat roasted over an open fire. People have used it for thousands of years. The word Freekeh has its origin in the Arab language and means „to rub“. According to an old story, Freekeh was found by coincidence. During an assault on a little village, young wheat fields were burned. The farmers desperately tried to save their harvest and started to rub off the burned part. The outcome? A roasted, delicious seed. And this is how Freekeh was found and came to its name. It is considered a specialty in numerous Arab countries, especially in Palestine where it is used along with traditional dishes. Freekeh is a natural health booster and a wonderful resource of protein. It is a great supplement for athletes and is largely recommended for people with diabetes. But most importantly – it is delicious!

This great wheat has been on the menu in Syria, Palestine and Jordan for more than four thousand years. And yet – it is not well known in Europe so far. In the north of the West Bank, Conflictfood met a group of organic farmers at the granary of Palestine, who grow Freekeh according to ancient traditions.  It is those farmers we want to support, by creating new opportunities of sales markets and by providing a stable economic perspective by fair and direct trade.Get Freekeh!Our consumption has an impact on people living on this earth. Together we can walk a new path and show everyone that social responsibility and trade go hand in hand.

Conflictfood can be your alternative. We encounter our partners as equals. Let us save Freekeh from oblivion together with Slowfood and simultaneously support farmers from the West Bank. So we can appreciate our food fully: with tasty and responsible enjoyment.

Here you can buy our Freekeh

  • Bio-Freekeh FriedenspäckchenPeace Kit: Organic Freekeh from Palestine, 250g

     7,90

    In Stock, available in 1-3 days

    •  250g organic Freekeh from Palestine • Harvested green, roasted on flames •  Included: Journal „Voices of Palestine“ •  Certified organic

  • Fünf FriedenspäckchenTake Five! 5x Peace Kits

     59,00

    In stock, available in 1-3 days

     1g saffron from Afghanistan  100g organic green tea “Silver Shan” • 100g organic black tea “Golden Shan” • 80g organic black tea “Red Amber” • 250g organic freekeh from Palestine • Includes journals “Voices of ...” • Teas and freekeh are certified organic

  • Conflictfood GeschenkkorbConflictfood Gift Selection

     88,00

    In stock, available in 1-3 days

     Afghanistan Box with 1g saffron from Afghanistan Peace Kit with 1g saffron from Afghanistan  100g organic green tea “Silver Shan” • 100g organic black tea “Golden Shan” • 80g organic black tea “Red Amber” • 250g organic freekeh from Palestine • Includes journals “Voices of …” and recipe cards • Teas and freekeh are certified organic