In honor of the olive tree and the Palestinian people, renowned composer and musician Marcel Khalife performed on the theater of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and inaugurated the photography exhibition by Debwania. Marcel Khalife also planted an olive tree in the presence of the university’s management.

Dr. Fatima Saeed Al Shamsi, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi said: “We were very pleased to welcome composer and musician Marcel Khalife for the second time to pay tribute to the olive tree and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians. This event was a great opportunity for all of us to enjoy the most beautiful and passionate songs by Marcel Khalife who combines in his songs between the enthusiasm of resistance and the desire for peace. We also learned more about Debwania”.

Commenting on his performance, Marcel Khalife said: “I was so happy to be back to Sorbonne Abu Dhabi for the second time to sing for Palestine during the olive festival, seeking every opportunity to defend the hope besieged by occupation. It was a pleasure for me to have met you all at the event”.

From her side, Hanan Awad, an American Palestinian academic who took an initiative to plant olive trees in Palestine and raise awareness to the daily challenges of Palestinian farmers, said: “I have always had a connection with olive trees; I grew up in a house surrounded with hundreds of Roman olive trees and I remember the olive harvest season and what it meant to my grandmother. I recall her saying that it is the season of multiple weddings where all the peasants are celebrating their harvest. The olive tree and the olive oil have a special significance to all Palestinians. This tree is an essential aspect of the Palestinian culture and identity. Destroying and uprooting the Palestinian olive trees is destroying a symbol of life”.

The olive tree became the symbol of peaceful resistance to most of the Palestinians. Historically, the olive tree dates back to 4000 years and economically 40% of the source and income of Palestine depends on the olive tree. Environmentally 60% of planted trees in Palestine are olive trees and religiously this tree is mentioned in most religions. The olive tree planting starts during the rainy season in December so the tree receives as much water as possible. Some trees are planted on land day in March 30 as a symbol for the peaceful resistance against land confiscation.