The settlers of Tapuakh, violent disciples of Rabbi Kahane, did not shoot and run amok this Saturday (23.10), when peace activists approached their settlements from two sides, in order to prevent them from disrupting the olive picking.
255 peace activists answered the call to take part in the olive picking action at Yassouf and Jama’een villages, which border Tapuakh north and south. The inhabitants are unable to work in their groves and pick their olives because of fear of the settlers, who use every opportunity to abuse them, shoot at them and pursue them with attack dogs. Recently, one of the villagers broke a leg while trying to escape them.
Gush Shalom called for the big action on Saturday in order to enable the inhabitants of these two villages to pick their olives as much as possible within the three day the army has allotted to them. Even during these three days they cannot work safely without the presence of Israeli peace activists. The moment the activists leave, the soldiers tell the villagers to go away.
The olive picking in Yassouf, next to the fence of the settlement, was successful, with soldiers and policemen protecting both the activists and the villagers. The job in Jama’een was more difficult. The way to the groves in the danger-zone was long and extremely tough. It was necessary to cross rocky terrain and climb steep hills. However, when the activists – man and women from 17 to 82 – got to the place, work started in an upbeat mood.
Together with the families who own the groves, they shook the tress and picked for hours, climbing to the highest branches while conversing in a mixture of Hebrew, Arabic and English. The heaps of olives on the nylon sheets were quickly collected in sacks and in the end carried away by tractors. No contact with the settlers took place, neither were any soldiers seen in the neighborhood. Since the villagers are fasting during the month of Ramadan, the Jewish activists did not eat either.
Another group of activists went to Zeita village, where the situation is different. The inhabitants are not threatened by settlers, but are cut off from their olive trees by the so-called separation wall. The army allows only women – and not all of them, either – to pass the gate in the wall, and not open the nearest to the village, but compels the women to walk a mile and a half to another one.
The activists worked hard to pick as many olives a possible, and afterwards helped the women carry the olives to the gate. Only then did they go home to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.