Despite Israeli forces closing of the main road, 50 Palestinians, internationals and Israelis gathered on Friday morning, October 17, on the lands of the villages of Umm Salamuna and Al Masara, to begin the villages’ olive harvest.
After a long walk through the hills (the closing of the main roads obliged us to leave behind the van with all the material, the ladders, the buckets and the plastic sheets used to collect the olives), we arrived at the site of the apartheid gate to find 20 soldiers waiting for us, standing in a line at the top of the hill. Two jeeps drove towards us and the soldiers jumped out to watch very carefully the troop of strange workers, whose only tools were now cameras.
They quickly saw that the Palestinians were not alone, and let us go through. We climbed up the hill to start the harvest at its top, close to the bunch of soldiers.
The picking went on in a jolly mood, the Palestinians happy to be on their land, and their friends happy to be with them.
We had nice discussions with the farmers, the Greek activists and the Spanish, who had brought a large banner asking for the release of the Cuban prisoners in US jails, and of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli ones.
The head of the Committee for the Villages of the South of Palestine then jumped on a rock and delivered to us a very touching and strong speech regarding this years harvest.