This Close!

This Close!

 

Bracha

Illegal Settlement, Bracha, Built on Palestinian Olive Groves.

This close? Yes, the Bruchin settlement next to our most recent pick was this close.

A fence, a tarmac road (constructed by Palestinians) and then settler houses, smart cars in the drives, playgrounds, shutters down.

Bracha, Illegal settlement in the West Bank

Bracha, Illegal settlement in the West Bank

 

The farmer had asked us to come and help because the day before he and his wife, along with their children, had been stoned and chased away by settler boys on a horse. The first day some of us came and picked with them, the settlement ‘head of security’ hung about asking intrusive questions to which we gave vague answers. His intention was to prevent trouble: not to protect the farmers, but to avoid bad publicity. Our presence was clearly working. More Palestinians had come to help that day, knowing we were there, but they were all still jumpy and anxious.

We picked with them for two more days, finishing both the two brothers’ harvests. There were more neighbours confident enough to help, and the relief at the close of the third day was palpable.

It’s still hot in the day here, and olive harvest is tiring all of us, old and young. There are some of us taking days off, there are sprained knees, there are early nights and we are all walking at the end of the day like zombies. But the ability to give so much practical support keeps us on our feet. Just, at times.