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Update from the 2011 Fall Team

This picture was taken a few days ago. Our Huwwara home is on the right about as far up as can be seen. We don't see small boys dressed in a coat and tie very often.

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 2. We find ourselves unexpectedly at home. Plans to pick olives at Bil'in were nixed. Palestinians are to pass through a gate in the wall to pick olives on the Israeli side. We learned that internationals are not allowed to enter via this route. Today's pickers will have support as Israelis from Rabbis for Human Rights will join them from the Israeli side. We considered going the long route around but decided not to risk it because of the travel restrictions placed on one of our members.

We learned of a need just east of Tubas near the Taysir check point. Soldiers have turned back pickers recently but have granted permission to pick today. We planned to go but learned at 10:45 last night that the Palestinians have requested no internationals. We were told that the last time internationals came the soldiers cleared everyone from the groves. So today Palestinians decided their best chance to get in the crop was to go it alone.

And such is the pace of life for activists in the West Bank. Plans change quickly at times. This does provide us with a needed opportunity to catch up on rest, house work, planning and blogging. We thought that many of you might enjoy a simple accounting of our time/activities.

Since our arrival we have spent: 2 days in training with ISM, 2 days at demonstrations, 1 day at a work action, 1 day of vacation in Jericho, 17 days in picking olives, and the rest of time in initial travel, orientation, and work days at home. The olive harvest is winding down. We anticipate a change in pace with opportunities to visit other areas, network with other groups, educate ourselves further, take part in house sitting in East Jerusalem, attend some other demonstrations, continue the process of meeting our neighbors in Huwwara, and as always be ready for the unexpected.

We experienced our first flying check point yesterday. A Palestinian farmer had picked us up and was taking us on the back road from Jammain to Deir Istiya to avoid soldiers who had stopped him on the way over. He just laughed when he discovered from passing cars that the soldiers had moved to this road. This was the second time we have watched this man deal with soldiers. He speaks Hebrew and is polite and calm after years of experience. Passports were inspected; we got back on our way; our driver said, "The soldier said - Tell those two not to start any trouble today." Such is the nature of our reception - suspicion and rejection from one side with love and appreciation from the other.

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