Week 34 – Farming for Freedom

After another Friday in Ni’liin, being baked in the sun and cutting down as much fence as we could, I made my way to a town called Beit Ummar, for an action the following morning.
We set off at 7am, with the fields of Saffa in mind.  The farmers in Saffa grow grape plants to make a living, but are consistently prevented from accessing their land by the Israeli military, who have illegally declared the agricultural land a closed military zone for weeks upon weeks in succession.
The Saffa fields are the most inaccessible place you could imagine, but I had determination on my side.  With Palestinian jaweea in my heart, we set off, the wheelchair taking the battering of it’s life.  The terrain was extremely rocky and uneven, as well as a sharp decline – inevitable recipe for disaster.  I might’ve looked a bit crazy pelting down the hill at full speed, but the cause was far more important.
Eventually, however, it became impossible to continue.  The wheelchair is revolutionary, but not quite as passionately as I am.  So, as was also the case in the fields of Ni’liin the day before, I had to take on the world on foot.
But the fields were not even in sight, and it felt like we were pursuing a futile path, until… a Palestinian farmer saved my life!
“You wait… I get my tractor.”
Oh yeaaah.  It was amazing!  Riding through Palestinian fields on a tractor, that’s something not everyone can say they’ve done.
When we got down to the fields, the soldiers hadn’t arrived, so we quickly got down to helping the farmers in picking as many grape leaves as humanly possible.  But it wasn’t long before the Israeli forces were there…
We resisted, but couldn’t stop them forcing us off the land.  As we slowly retreated, confrontations with soldiers began to rise up.  One of them actually tried to pull me off the back of the tractor where I was standing, but he quickly realised that he was messing with the wrong person.
Seven Israeli activists were arrested, but without the risk of undocumented administrative detention or deportation they seemed happy to act as “sacrificial lambs”.  We slowly drove the (tractor back up the hill, but every time we stopped (including one time to pick up the now stranded wheelchair) the soldiers went in to some insane frenzy.  I just don’t understand them.
They also felt the need to throw a sound bomb at us for no apparent reason, but it will take a lot more than weapons of mass distraction to stop me from fighting the struggle.
The farmers of Saffa are not protestors or activists, they are simply Palestinians trying to get by, yet they are constantly made victims of the Apartheid policies of the Zionist regime.  It’s difficult to describe a mere hour of picking grape leaves as a success, but as long as the resistance continues, Palestine will never die…

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