Hope Still Rises: a conversation with Daoud Nassar -Toronto West KAIROS online presentation
This conversation on Nov. 7 with Palestinian farmer and advocate Daoud Nassar was quite a lesson in turning the other cheek. He explained that his Palestinian family has owned their farmland in the West Bank since 1916. Israel declared his and all the surrounding land “state land” in 1991 and began an onslaught on the family–legal, physical, military, financial and isolating.
Soon thereafter Israeli settlers destroyed all 150 olive trees and much of his family’s property, and then demolished all their fruit trees (e.g. apricot, almond) 12 days before harvest, save one fig tree named the “steadfast witness.” Now five Israeli illegal settlements surround the farm, threatening what little has been saved.
With a huge international response to the olive tree destruction, Daoud started the “Tent of Nations.” Many volunteers, including Jews from the UK and the US, have come to help revive the property and plant trees. He and his family moved into caves under the land, and invite people to “come and see, go and tell,” so that the farm and the Tent of Nations can survive. The Tent embraces nonviolence, faith and justice and has become a larger community-based Palestinian organization.
They are now fighting 23 demolition orders in court. In 2001, the road to the Tent farm was blocked with huge boulders, requiring a much longer drive to Bethlehem for goods or services, and now the Israeli wall that is near completion will block passage to Bethlehem entirely.
Throughout his discussion, he highlighted the innovations they are trying (for example, using rainwater, compost toilets, relying on solar energy) to be able to survive on their farm. This year is challenging because of COVID-19–no volunteers are there to help and to witness.
Watch the recording of the event, it is well worth the time! — from Canadian Friends of Sabeel; Toronto West KAIROS; Friends of Tent of Nations North America-People Building Bridges; United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel.