Israel/Palestine: Tent of Nations partially destroyed

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May 19th, 2014 at 08.00, Israeli bulldozers came to the fertile valley of the farm …

… and destroyed more than 1500 apricot and apple trees as well as grape plants.
Many peace activists worldwide know the ‘Tent of Nations,’ a meeting point for peace camps, people of all different faiths and world views, one of the few places in the West Bank where the children from Bethlehem or refugee camps can experience nature. And it’s one of the few farms in the region that still belongs to a Palestinian family. The Nassar family were unusually lucky to be able to prove their long-term right of ownership with an ancient document from the Ottoman administration. Nevertheless they had to struggle for years to be officially listed as the owner in the military land office. As they have an indisputable right of ownership, the process has been procrastinated for over ten years. No wonder, the land is favored – all surrounding farmers have already been expropriated; Israeli settlements were built on their lands. Concrete deserts surround the small hill where olive and fruit trees grow and where you find the famous tent that already offered shelter to so many international peace pilgrims – the ‘Tent of Nations.’ Daoud Nasser has made an unshakable decision for nonviolence; his decade-long struggle is a fight according to the strict rules of the Israeli military justice.
These exact rules, however, where violated by the military itself on May 19th. After a short warning that the trees were planted on state’s land, bulldozers demolished a part of the farms and uprooted 1,500 fruit trees. “The military had no right to do so, as the court case is still going on,” say the family’s lawyer, Sani Khoury. Daound Nassar will continue to struggle, but will stay faithful to his decision for nonviolence. He says, “How will the country ever find peace? Where will we be able to find the Holy Land if all trees are uprooted?”
For more information, please visit their website: www.tentofnations.org

Some voices:

By Daoud Nasser, Tent of Nations:
May 19th, 2014 at 08.00, Israeli bulldozers came to the fertile valley of the farm where we planted fruit trees 10 years ago, and destroyed the terraces and all our trees there. More than 1500 apricot and apple trees as well as grape plants were smashed and destroyed.We informed our lawyer who is preparing the papers for appeal. Please be prepared to respond. We will need your support as you inform friends, churches and representatives when action is needed. Please wait for the moment and we will soon let you know about next steps and actions.Thank you so much for all your support and solidarity.Blessings and Salaam, Daoud

By Lynn, friend of Daoud and the Tent of Nations:
I am heartbroken and crying tonight. Daoud Nasser and his family at The Tent of Nations Environmental and Educational Farm   (//www.tentofnations.org) in the West Bank was invaded by Israel. Entire fields of grapes, apples, apricots, almonds, fig and olive trees were wiped out. Up to 1500 trees destroyed. Daoud and his family own the land, have papers dating from the Ottoman Empire.The Nasser family has been persecuted mercilessly by five surrounding settlements, the IDF and the Israeli government for decades. The Israeli authorities had had 13 demolition orders on the land, abd forbade the building of any structures (including tents) and placed boulders on the exit and entrances to their farm, and has uprooted trees before. Getting to the farm from Bethlehem -a ten minute ride- can take at least an hour due to circuitous route Palestinians are forced to follow. This is ongoing Nakba in action. I feel this tragedy deeply. Daoud is my friend. I’ve sent people to visit him and work on the farm. I’ve taken delegations there and shared time with him in several cities speaking about ‘the way forward’ toward peace and justice in Palestine. The summer camp, women’s programing and program for volunteers on the farm is remarkable.Those of us who know Daoud have been deeply impacted by his compassion, nonviolence, resiliency, creativity, and commitment to community. He and his wife contribute so much to their environment, community and world. This outrage cuts deeply into the heart.Ain’t nobody gonna turn us around. I imagine many of us will want to raise funds for the replanting of the farm, and in fact, go there to help rebuild. More on this aspect soon. For all you who fight for justice: this tragedy is ours to confront.
Lynn
By Attorney Mr. Sani Khoury:RE: Destruction of TreesThe Nassar Family has been in a legal battle to protect its land and trees for many years.
A short while ago the Military Authorities placed a warning on the land of the Nassar Family declaring that the trees were planted on “State Land”
and therefore constituted a trespass and should be “evacuated” !On 12.5.2014 the Nassar Family filed an appeal with the Military Court against the order and clarified that the land was not State Land and that the trees were planted on the family land. Furthermore they clarified that the Supreme Court had declared that the Nassar Family should continue with the “re-registration” process of their land. The Nassar Family has being trying to complete the process for years – however the Israel Military Land Registrar has been delaying the process endlessly without any explanation.According to the law no demolition or evacuation is allowed once an appeal is filed and until a final verdict. In spite of the fact that an appeal was filed on 12.5.2014, and no verdict has been issued the Military Authorities rushed to destroy the land and uproot all of the trees on 19.5.2014 !
This action is illegal even according to the draconian military laws in place.
The Nassar Family have been advised to file a case demanding compensation for the illegal actions of the Military Authorities.

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