INDEPENDENT NEWS

It Was Fun, But It Is A Scandal - Olive Harvest

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2004 11:53 AM
It Was Fun, But It Is A Scandal - Olive Harvest
[] Two left-wing views on the right-wing threat Avnery: On the way to civil war // Levy: Let them refuse [] Gaza not enough, unilateralism crazy
[Because of a computer problem you get the report a day late]
[] IT WAS FUN, BUT IT IS A SCANDAL - OLIVE HARVEST
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Oct. 23 - Several hundred activists showed up for the olive harvest, pouring by bus and private cars to the rendez-vous at Qafr Qasem. Organized by Gush Shalom, under the auspices of the Harvest Coalition, the action became the rallying call for those shocked and angered by the settler violence as seen on TV a week ago. (It was also a handy way of confronting settlers without siding with Sharon and his miserable Disengagement Plan.)
When everyone was gathered, Yakov Manor of the coalition had grave news: "We originally intended to go today to the villages of Salem and Dir al- Hateb, east of Nablus. But it turned out that there is hardly anything to be harvested there. The villagers have been excluded for a long time from taking care of their trees, so now that they are allowed to go there at last, there aren't many olives. Access throughout the year is essential. This is a scandal! But today we will go somwhere else."
About half of us set out for the village of Zeita, near the Green Line, which got separated from most of its lands by the notorious Fence/Wall all around. The other part, including the present writer, set out for the villages of Yasouf and Jama'in, with have the misfortune of being the direct neighbors of the Tapuach settlement, a stronghold of the violent followers of the late Rabbi Kahane.
Several Yasouf families have their olive trees very close to the settlement entrance (or rather: the settlement was created near where these families had their trees). "You must not go more than 50 metres from the road" said the commander of the small military detachment. "The road is our tactical axis, we can't protect you more than 50 metres away. That is, we can but it is not in accordance with my instructions." Since most of the trees the families were interested in were in that perimeter, it did not seem worthwhile to argue.
We went to work with a will, Uri Avnery (81) as in previous years proving agile in climbing trees and picking every single last olive. On the ground below him, an anarchist who immigrated from Ukraina engaged in intensive discussion on Russian litterature with two academics of Tel- Aviv University, while the hands did the work.
About two hours sufficed to end with this plot - to the obvious relief of the soldiers. Then we set out on a long track to the groves of Jama'in, on the other side of Tapuach. The shortest way, straight across the ridge we didn't take. Two years ago, Tapuach has extended itself with an outpost, one of these "unauthorized outposts" which Sharon promised long ago to remove... The alternative route was a long and winding goat track, which took us nearly an hour under the blazing sun.
We passed a considerable number of still unharvested trees, the branches full of juicy blue-black olives. This, however, was a less dangerous area where the Palestinians could manage alone. Our goal, reached by climbing terrace after terrace, was right under the hilltop where "Tapuach-West" has its 3 trailer homes surrounded by barbed wire.
When we emerged into the clearing where a large family group was waiting, a three year-old boy cowered away. "I tried to tell Fahdi, that you are good people, but he seems not to trust it" said apologetically Salah, the father. But David, with his big smile and long-hair didn't need long to break the ice, and soon they were hilariously playing tag. "I have a small sister at home" said David.
"This place looks so peaceful" said one of the Israelis as we settled into the olive-picking routine. "Peaceful? Today it is, but if you look at that path over there, that's the path by which last Tuesday they came down from there, with their guns and dogs, and chased two of my cousins. One of them fell down and broke his leg" told Salah.
On the phone, we keep contact with the people who went to Zeita. The situation there is not less paradoxical. The Fence is separating the village from its lands, and only a fewvillagers, mostly women, are allowed to cross the gate. Our group however could easily get there from the Israeli side of the fence and link up with the women. "They are overworked, trying to do alone the work which is usually done by whole families. In additon, the army is not allowing them to go through the gate between the village and their trees. They have to walk first several kilometres to another gate and get back more or less from there. That is pretty hard on the way back when they have to carry the olives, you know." Today at least they had the help of some hundred Israeli activists, who accompanied them and carried for them the olives until the gate on whose other side their husbands were waiting. There is going to be an appeal to the Supreme Court about this unreasonable harassment by the army. [Report by Adam Keller.]
[] Two left-wing views on the right-wing threat Avnery: On the way to civil war // Levy: Let them refuse
~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ Uri Avnery: On the way to civil war ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
English http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/article327.html
Hebrew/òáøéú http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/article327_heb.html
Guidon Levy: Let them refuse
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/492467.html
Hebrew/òáøéú http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=492506
[] Gaza not enough, unilateralism crazy Gush Shalom is not going to take part in the pro-disengagement demo tomorrow in Jerusalem starting from the Israel Museum at 7.15pm, but individial activists intend to come there with the slogan: Gaza not enough, unilateralism crazy

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