As UK parliamentarians gnash their teeth over whether to bestow the statehood their own citizens enjoy on Palestinians disenfranchised by Britain’s colonialist meddling, Israeli settlers living on stolen land continue to create facts on the ground both by their illegal presence there, and by their campaign of terror on Palestinians living on the land the settlers covet – which is to say, all of it.

We North Americans celebrate the harvest each year with a holiday we call Thanksgiving, and many cultures revere the period in nature when we reap what we’ve sown. Its mystical spin-offs include the harvest moon whose light is so bright farmers can continue their work late into the night. The Greeks deemed the harvest so significant literally and metaphorically, they put Demeter in charge, the goddess whose remit extended beyond fertility to the cycle of life and death itself.

In the West Bank, the olive harvest has begun and with it an escalation of the real life and death battle local Palestinians face each day. Anyone who cares to look will know that for days now gangs of militant settlers have been destroying olive trees and attacking Palestinian farmers harvesting the fruit. Just yesterday morning, one such gang set upon a 25 year-old woman picking olives with her children, beating her ‘brutally’ according to reports.

There’s nothing new here, of course. In 2010 The Guardian reported on the ‘most troubled harvest yet’, with a sharp increase in settler attacks on Palestinians and the destruction of the olive trees on which their livelihood depends. Ditto every year since.

These are the same fanatical settlers who regularly storm the Al-Aqsa mosque under the protection of IOF soldiers, this morning led by Moshe Feiglin, the Knesset’s Deputy Leader who in August called for Palestinians to be put in ‘concentration camps.’ And by night, as I mentioned last week, these settlers forcibly remove Arab Jerusalemites from their beds so that they might rest there instead, once again accompanied by the IOF to protect them from sleeping Palestinian children or ‘little snakes’ as an Israeli parliamentarian called them recently, quoting a ‘former associate’ of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Today’s parliamentary vote is historically momentous. If it succeeds – without the wrecking amendment which effectively empowers Israel to veto UK law – it will be symbolically momentous too, not least in its rejection of foreign policy drafted in Washington. But for Palestinians suffering the daily horrors of systematic land grabs, blockade, administrative detention, the tear gassing and imprisonment of children, and myriad other forms of terror and humiliation, our political gestures must warrant more than a high five in Ramallah and the devastated streets of Gaza City.

Over the past two decades, we’ve drawn many lines in Arab sand. Let us draw a line the bloody-minded settlers can’t cross, with or without their IOF comrades, and then let’s start pushing back.

Here’s what Israeli settlers have been up to lately

1. Dozens of olive trees destroyed in West Bank in run-up to harvest

Oct 6 – Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf on Monday morning discovered that dozens of their mature olive trees have been felled in a suspected “price tag” attack. Hebrew graffiti sprayed on nearby rocks.

2. Israeli settlers beat up woman picking olives via @jricole

A large group of Israeli settlers on Saturday morning violently beat a young Palestinian woman while she was picking olives from trees in an orchard in the village of Yasuf in the Salfit district in the central West Bank, a Palestinian official said.

The assault is the third such attack on Palestinian olive pickers in three days, creating concern about unchecked settler violence as the olive harvest kicks off across the West Bank.

Because the attacks occur outside of the village, they largely fall in Area C, which is under complete Israeli military control and thus beyond the purview of Palestinian security forces.

3. Palestinian family attacked by settlers while harvesting olives via @ismpalestine

Tuesday afternoon, the 7th of October, olive farmer Mahmoud Rga Mahoud Aid, his wife, and their three children were attacked by a a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Giv’at Ya’akov. The attack took place on the family´s land near the village of Burin, south west of Nablus.

Israeli soldiers watched the settlers attack the family, but didn’t react until a considerable amount of time had passed. Eventually they came down from the hill and told the settlers to leave the area.

Mahmoud walked down the hill, wounded, and was stopped by another group of soldiers who detained him for allegedly attacking the settlers and ‘causing trouble’…Mahmoud lost his permission for the third and last day of olive picking.

4. IOF raids Al Aqsa mosque (again) via @jncatron

Dozens of Palestinian worshipers wounded Monday morning when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed into Al Aqsa compound. Clashes were broken out between Palestinians and IOF who fired rubber bullets coated with metal, sounds and pepper bombs toward them.

5. Israel to grab more land in Bethlehem via @jncatron

The Israeli regime has notified the residents of a Palestinian village about its new plans to grab more land near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Press TV reports.

The Palestinians of the al-Khader village were told on Sunday that about 80 dunums of Palestinian-owned agricultural lands were about to be seized. [Note: one dunum is about 900 square meters. The term comes from the Ottoman Empire when it designated an area that could be ploughed in one day.]

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