Palestinian olive harvest begins in West Bank, Gaza

Photo gallery: Both Ismail Haniyeh and Salam Fayyad turn up to be photographed picking symbolic fruit in Palestinian villages.

Fayyad olives 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Fayyad olives 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Ismail Haniyeh and Salam Fayyad, prime ministers of rival Hamas and Palestinian Authority governments, both turned up Saturday to be photographed picking olives to mark the beginning of the harvest.

Haniyeh donned a baseball cap as he plucked green olives, while Fayyad wrapped a traditional peasant's scarf around his head and climbed a ladder in the West Bank village of Iraq Burin. Olives are a staple of Palestinian cooking, used for food and oil, and Palestinians are sensitive about their trees, which can live for hundreds of years. The olive tree is also viewed as a symbol of the Palestinians determination to remain in their homeland.Collectively, Palestinians own about 15 million olive trees, according to Salah al-Baba of the Palestinian Agricultural Ministry.