Friends and activists remembered the life of Simon Levin on Monday 27th January with an olive tree planting in Al Hadidiya community, Jordan Valley.

Simon was a dedicated supporter of the Palestinian struggle, both in the West Bank and UK. He first travelled to Palestine in 2004, where he spent several months providing a protective international presence against army incursions into the Balata refugee camp. In 2008 he led a delegation to the Jordan Valley, where he worked with the local community to establish a school in the village of Fasayil. The school has now overcome the threat of demolition and is thriving, providing a vital service to growing number of six to ten-year-olds.

His friends planted one dunam (acre) of land in Al Hadidiya with fifteen olive trees. Within the next three years, the trees will begin to provide the community with fruit. Al Hadidiya, like most communities in the Jordan Valley, has suffered a repeated pattern of demolitions and harassment by the Israeli army. Through acts of re-building and tree planting, Jordan Valley Solidarity works alongside these communities to help them become more resilient and to facilitate constructive resistance to Israeli occupation.

A plaque commemorating Simon’s life was also hung in the Friends House, the hub of the Jordan Valley Solidarity campaign, to provide a lasting reminder of his work and a tree was planted in Fasayil al Wusta, another Area C community which has experienced repeated demolitions.The plaque reads:

“Simon Levin 1974 – 2011:
A passionate anti imperialist,
dedicated activist
and above all, our friend.

We miss you Simon”

Some of Simon’s ashes were scattered at the foot of a palm tree outside the meeting house, which had been planted in Simon’s memory in 2011 and some were scattered in Al Hadidya and mixed with the roots of the olive trees.

In the evening Simon’s friends visited Balata refugee camp in Nablus and met with local people to hear about life there during the second intifada and what volunteers like Simon did in solidarity with the people there

Simon was passionate about what he saw as the largely ignored struggle of communities in the Jordan Valley. During his visit in 2008, he set out this reaction to what he’d experienced;

“This is not the sexy occupation we see in other areas, it is simply the slow death of a nation when a foreign occupier steals their water, demolishes even the flimsiest family homes made of plastic sheets and forces them to live in the 9th Century by denying access to electricity that runs through cables over their heads. Palestinians are resourceful people who value education above all other things and are excellent farmers. They are not asking for charity or pity. Just to be left alone to get on with their lives using the resources they own by rights. They are not a nation of terrorists or religious zealots. Just people who deserve the right to live a life of their own choosing.”

(Jordan Valley, 11th April 2008.