Editor's note: Below is a first-hand account by my friend Neda Mustafa of an attempt to help a Palestinian farmer pick his grape leaves in the face of belligerent Israeli settlers and an aggressive Israeli military. Unfortunately the following story is all too common here in Palestine. Yet it also shows the power of human solidarity across all borders at work!
This morning I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to head to Beit Ummar to help Palestinian farmers there reap the benefits of their land. (Today it was grape leaves.) The reason they need help (and so early in the morning) is because there is a Jewish settlement next to their land now, which makes their farmland a "closed military zone."
This means that the farmers who own the land are not allowed on it, thus making it difficult to reap their harvests. We went early because the army usually gets there later in the day. So we arrive and walk down to the farm where two Arab families are already picking. We quickly join them and begin picking the grape leaves.