Israel-Palestine: 'Tent of Nations' Partially Destroyed

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.

Tamera coworkers have been several times in the Tent of Nation, participating in peace camps, tree planting actions or installing ecological infrastructure, and in 2007 the Tent of Nations was a station of the Grace Pilgrimage. We were deeply impressed by the commitment for non-violence of Daoud Nassar, the owner. 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?"

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