By Eyal Ben, photo: Dalit Shaham
Ynet joins group of leftist activists who took a few days off from work to act as human shields for Palestinians during olive gathering, as well as help out with the harvest
As the olive harvest in the West Bank is at its peak, so is the fear of harassment by settlers.
This week, Ynet joined a group of leftist activists who decided to take a few days off from work to act as human shields for Palestinians during olive gathering, as well as help out with the harvest.
On our way to Farata, a village close to Nablus and the Havat Gilad outpost, the activists tell hair-raising stories about the settlers. Each one has had their own traumatic experience with them, whether it involves stoning, beatings, or foul language.
Still, the activists emphasize that it is only a small, yet dangerous minority, and that “there are usually no problems with most settlers”.
Although the olive industry in the West Bank is the livelihood for thousands of families and has great economic importance, the primary struggle is over the land. Palestinians view the olive tree as proof of their ownership of the land, while settlers for the most part disagree.
As we enter the village and leave the bus, the activists move forward as one through the thorn field towards the olive grove, armed with cameras and ready to document any injustice.
It’s as if the settlers are viewed as some sort of demons that could pop up from behind a tree at any given moment.
After meeting with the Palestinians by the grove, they proceed to tell the leftist activists story after story of the various of harassment they have suffered in recent years – stories of olive looting, tree destruction and uprooting, and even physical violence.