In Niâlin and al-Maâsra the Friday prayers and protests against the Wall have marked the beginning of the olive harvest. Although there are a few days remaining until the official start of the harvest season, farmers have begun picking olives in a number of villages across the West Bank. They have already been met with violence from soldiers and settlers, who are working collectively to drive the farmers off their land.
***image3***In Niâlin, the Friday prayers were held in the lands containing groves of ripe trees. During the prayers, settlers approached the people carrying Israeli flags. Upon arriving, they proceeded to burn a Palestinian flag in an attempt to provoke the people. Residents refused to be intimidated and confronted the settlers, forcing them out of the area before commencing the harvest
In al-Maâsra, the demonstration for agricultural lands threatened by the Wall was dedicated to the eighth anniversary of the murder of Muhammad ad-Dura, who was killed on the second day of the outbreak of the second Intifada. As soon as protestors arrived at the lands, Occupation forces stationed in the area fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to disperse the demonstration. During the confrontation the coordinator of the Popular Committee in al-Maâsra, Muhammad Brijiye, was attacked and suffered a broken hand.
The continued demonstrations against the Wall are a focal point in the farmersâ yearly struggle to collect the olive harvest. A growing number of villages across the West Bank have watched their olive groves isolated by the Wall and their local economies devastated. Farmers in Niâlin and al-Maâsra, in danger of losing their lands and livelihoods, continue to fight against the Occupation policies that threaten to destroy their communities.