by two ISM activists in Nablus
Our experience of the harvest started in Yanoun village, Nablus region at 7am on the 26th of October. We accompanied two old Palestinian women in a field just down the hill from the Itamar settlement.
Half an hour after we started, a settler came and tried to get rid of us. He was very aggressive and called the army as well as a settler friend.
When the soldiers came they told us to go away too. During the discussion, a second settler came and shouted at us. He also tried to steal a bag of the Palestinian’s olives.
At this point, a lot more people arrived: more soldiers, policemen, border police, some kind of civil co-ordinators and two more settlers armed with an M16 rifle and a camera.
The heated discussions went back and forth – no one was quite sure who was allowed to be in which places. The Israeli group Rabbis For Human Rights arrived and joined in the debate. A small group of Palestinians quietly returned to picking olives while the soldiers and police were distracted.
Permission from the DCO did not arrive and we decided with the two Palestinian women to try again the next day.
The next day, we returned to the same field to make sure that the Palestinians there were not picking alone. Again, we found the police, the army and the Border Police. In the same place, a settler was also stealing olives, picking them for himself. The police stopped him and said to us that we could not be here today and that they would arrest anyone that tried to harvest for the whole day. They left together with the settler, perhaps to drink coffee together in the settlement.
We continued the harvest in other Yanoun fields.