Christian Palestinian farmer to visit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 07 June 2013 08:19
Daoud Nassar, a Christian Palestinian who lives and farms outside Bethlehem on the West Bank, is making a month-long speaking tour throughout the northeastern quarter of the United States. His visit will bring him to Northwest Ohio Thursday through June 15 for three visits, including one in Perrysburg and one in Fostoria.
The Nassar family, who has owned the farm since 1916, is one of the last Christian Palestinian families living and working in the fertile hill country south of Bethlehem. Per the Oslo Agreement of 1993, Israel totally controls this area and requires a permit for all infrastructure improvement. Since such permits are only granted to Jewish settlements, any new rooms are subterranean (for example, dug out caves). In addition, the land is not connected to the power grid or public water. The Nassars use cistern-collected water and solar panels to support their existence.
Nassar will be at Zoar Lutheran Church, 341 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg, on June 15. He will be preaching at the 6 p.m. worship and speaking following the service at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday he will be speaking at Corpus Christi University Parish, 2955 Dorr St., Toledo, at 7 p.m. His Fostoria visit will be at Hope Lutheran Church Luther Center, 131 W. Center St., next Friday at 7 p.m.
Each presentation is open to all. A free will offering will be taken.
His "The Other Side of the Wall" tour will start at Riverside Church in New York City, as well as several other churches there. After a stop in metropolitan Washington, DC, he will making his visit to our area, including a visit to Ann Arbor, Mich. on June 15.  
From his local visits Nassar will travel to Chicago, followed by a stop in Cleveland and ending in Arlington and Richmond, VA.
Nassar is the founder of Tent of Nations, which was established in 2001-02 by the Nassar family on Daher's Vineyard. He established the Tent of Nations to fulfill his father's dream. The organization is an institute to build peace and coexistence on the family land. The land is a center for people from different countries to come together and to build bridges of trust and hope. At the front gates, a sign reads in three languages: "We Refuse to be Enemies."
This family is one of the last Christian Palestinian families living and working in the fertile hill country six miles southwest of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The family's farm was named after Daher Nassar, who purchased the land in 1916.
The Nassar family farm stands alone, ringed by settlements and the encroaching Separation Wall, with no access to running water or electricity. It is the last holdout in a region marked for annexation by Israel. The family has been offered millions for the land, but they remain steadfast.  
"This land is our mother," says Nassar, grandson of Daher. "Our mother is not for sale."
Under his leadership, the family has taken the case to establish the family's land rights all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court.
To serve the mission of Tent of Nations, the Nassar family seeks coexistence with Israel in a shared Palestine and is committed to nonviolence as the means to reach that goal.
Visitors from all over the world, including many Israelis, come to discuss peace strategies, learn organic farming, teach at the Women's Education Center, and lead activities during youth summer camps.
In spite of destructive threats by Israeli Defense Forces, and neighboring hostile settlers, the Tent of Nations has become a place for pursuing a just peace through non-violent activities.
Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) was founded as an all-volunteer charitable corporation in November 2007.
The Nassar Family has been working since 1991 in an attempt to prove their ownership of the Daher Vineyard to the satisfaction of the Israeli courts.
So far, the struggle to save their land has cost the family more than $200,000.
Even as they continue to fight their court case and farm the land, the Nassar family's Tent of Nations projects keep on working, demonstrating their commitment to peace and coexistence.
Through their projects for women, youth and families, non-violent approaches to peace are put into practice and serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
In order to sustain these projects, the infrastructure on the farm has been upgraded. This is where FOTONNA came in. With the added expense of fighting the court case, the Nassar family was not able to commit the funds needed to maintain and grow the projects and the programs to which they are committed.
Nassar's tour is designed to help educate people of their efforts and to raise funds to help continue the fight.
A donation form and more information can be found on the website: www.fotonna.org.
Or make your check out to FOTONNA and mail directly to: FOTONNA, c/o Kay Plitt, 5621 N. 9th Road, Arlington, Va. 22205
Officials from the organization ask that all donors include their e-mail address.
Donations are not tax-deductible.
 

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