Greetings from the illegally annexed and militarily occupied East Jerusalem. The olive picking program is now over. I have met fabulously resilient and very kind people who are, as can be imagined, forced to live in a very strange, Orwellian world, where the political landscape they inhabit is ever-changing under the guise of the expanding Jerusalem municipality boundary - which now seems to have gobbled up nearly half of the West Bank. Farmers need permission to enter fields they had cultivated previously for generations, as suddenly they are in a "closed military zone". Reason? Another settlement is expanding onto their land and the colonizing inhabitants, who are now residing on stolen land, apparently need a protective zone around them. If that land contains a three hundred year old Palestinian olive grove - well it's OK to vandalize it with impunity to show
them that it's their god-given homeland. Picking the olives thus becomes an important way to express ones solidarity with the Palestinians' quest to retain their fundamental right to .... well, stay alive on their land while, steadfastly holding on to their culture.