|Here we are squeezing through the boulders blocking the road.|
Today the farm produces carob products, figs, almonds, apricots and apples. The farm has also begun developing solar energy and recycling wastewater—a necessity, since Israel has cut off their access to electricity and water. Israel has ordered them not dig cisterns or collect rainwater. Since their road was blocked they have been forced to farm without equipment.
In the summer, they host peace camps for Muslim, Jewish and Christian children. This year they had 65 children and 25 volunteers. They also host international volunteers who want to gain experience in sustainable farming, or simply help this family stay on their land.
Then his sister Amal spoke to us. She is a psychotherapist, working in Bethlehem. She tells us, "This land is precious to us like a mother." She also tells a story about meeting a woman from a nearby settlement, who can't believe there are Palestinians living in the area (in addition to the Nassar farm, there is also a Palestinian village in the valley). She explains that they use her grandfather's cave, rather than building more buildings, so as not to destroy nature.
The farm used to produce wheat and grapes for wine, which they cannot raise now, without machinery. Although they have four sets of documents proving their ownership of the land, this West Bank family has spent thousands of dollars and the last twelve years in Israeli court, fighting to keep their land. They could choose to leave, she says, but "my father said 'Always keep hope alive.'" Their father was a lay evangelist at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, where the family still worships. She continues, "we have a task to do on this land."
So the Nassars have chosen not to be enemies. The sign for their farm shows their motto, "We refuse to be enemies." She tells us, "Christians have a duty to make peace and share the land."
Amal also tells us that international pressure has helped save their land—in spite of all the demolition orders.
This week Israeli soldiers came with bulldozers and uprooted one of their orchards—1500 apricot and apple trees were destroyed and the terraces where they were planted were leveled by the bulldozers. The valley looks like a wasteland.
|Before and After—Tent of Nations orchard (left) and the valley after Israeli's military bulldozed and uprooted the trees (right).|
Please be part of that hope—sign a petition to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for his help in rebuilding the destroyed orchards and getting compensation for the Nassar family, and an end to the Israeli effort to take their land.
Read more about Tent of Nations: https://www.facebook.com/tentofnations
Watch "Love Your Enemies"—Daoud Nassar tells about how their faith supports them in their peacebuilding work.