A group of Israelis and Palestinians assembled together on the last Friday of February at the village of Assira El Kabiliah, south of Nablus, to plant new trees together, also as a take on the Jewish festival of trees, Tu bi-Shvat, that took place last month, but mainly as an act of solidarity with the villagers, and to protest the abuse they suffer from the neighboring settlers of Yitzhar.
It was beautiful, because we were together, Israelis and Palestinians, and because it rained, and the olive seedlings were tender, and the soil was moist, and the palms of our hands got all muddy. I took lots of beautiful photos. Only than some kids from the village, excited that they could approach their fields again (it’s too scary to go there without backup from Israeli activists, on account of the Yitzhar settlement), dismantled an old army post (a totally legitimate action. These are their fields, their property). And then suddenly soldiers charged towards us, followed by settlers. There was tear gus and smoke grenades and ever someone who got a rubber bullet in his stomach, and people started fleeing, and children were screaming. I also took photos of those, while running.
And then a saw him. A youngster from the village. He went up the hill, across from the soldiers. An individual against an armed unit. Struggling to hold his flag in the strong wind. As if saying, “I am one, and you are many, and I don’t care how many rubber bullets you shoot at me.”