February 2013
Daoud Nassar's Book Now Available!

With many thanks to Bishop Richard Llewellin, Daoud Nassar's book, Daher's Vineyard - Tent of Nations:  My Father's Dream, is now available for purchase.  For the price of $15.00, you can be transported into the reality of life for the Nassar family as they struggle to maintain their family farm (located about 6 miles outside Bethlehem) in spite of roadblocks and obstacles put in their way on a daily basis.  You will read about the family history, the current situation, and hopes and dreams for the future.  We invite you to enter into this world of deep faith and daily struggles as they 'Refuse to be Enemies' and come to see the 'other' in terms of their own fears and hopes.

You can order one or more copies by simply sending $15.00 per copy requested to:

Kay Plitt
c/o FOTONNA
5621 N. 9th Road
Arlington, VA  22205

Checks should be made out to:  FOTONNA - note that it is for the purchase of a book(s).

With gratitude - FOTONNA Steering Committee

Front and Back Cover (click for larger image)


Click Here for the Summer-Fall 2013 Newsletter

Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) is pleased to work with the Tree of Life (TOL) organization.  TOL has always been a true supporter of Daoud Nassar and the work of the Tent of Nations Peace Project.  If you would like to attend any of the upcoming October/November TOL Conferences, please find more details at:  www.tolef.org.


Please read the following appeal from Rabbi Alissa Wise of Jewish Voices
for Peace:

I was in 5th grade when I learned about the Trail of Tears and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. I'm not sure what Mrs. Gary, my teacher, expected us to think or feel - but the lessons I learned were about unthinkable horror, injustice, and sadness. Those reactions are a big part of what made me an activist. In 2013, history is repeating itself in Israel, with the aid of US tax dollars.

Last Monday, the Israeli Knesset approved the first reading of the Prawer Plan - the first legislative step toward removing 40,000 indigenous Bedouin people from their ancestral homeland in the Negev/al-Naqab. 9,000 JVP supporters already stepped up and sent a clear message to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: the Prawer Plan is
unacceptable. That's an amazing response for barely 24 hours of organizing. But we're going to have to do more. Can you join us now and help us reach our new goal of 18,000 messages? Click here to send your email.

Here's why it matters: The Prawer Plan essentially provides government approval for the Jewish National Fund's $4 billion "Blueprint Negev" to transform the Negev/al-Naqab into a majority-Jewish area, despite the centuries that Bedouin people have been living there. * Unlike Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza, the Bedouin are citizens of the State of Israel. However, they are cut off from basic services, denied quality education, and restricted in the purchase of land for personal or commercial use. Thousands of Bedouin have already been transferred, similarly to other Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line whose villages have been destroyed. This is a direct continuation of the ongoing Nakba which began in 1947. The bottom line is this: Ethnic and religious identity are being used as the sole criteria for forced removal. That's unacceptable - and it calls the very idea of democratic governance into question. For those of us in the US, Ambassador Oren is our formal link to the Israeli government. With the legislative process moving forward in early July, we need to pressure him now to stand for democracy. Click here to tell him now. The Prawer Plan is unacceptable

Sincerely, Rabbi Alissa Wise Director of Campaigns


Please read the following written by an Israeli Jew living near Tel Aviv.  His perspective on the latest round of issues between Hamas and Israeli leaders related to Gaza is a very important voice to be heard.  You may want to sign the letter to President Obama, also. 

"My family in Israel has bomb shelters. They are, actually, safe. In Gaza, there is no such thing as "safe." *Please, join me in asking your friends to ask President Obama to make aid to Israel contingent on not using it to target civilians 

Photo of me and my family
I wear many hats. I'm a dad, a videographer, a Jewish Israeli, a veteran. But I'm telling you my story, and asking you to sign this letter to President Obama about US military aid to Israel, as a human being, as a citizen of the world, and as someone who deeply cares about the people in Israel and Gaza.  My wife, kids and I live just on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel, where life during the past weeks for the most part carried on as normal.   There were four sirens in the eight days of the Israeli operation, which means we had to move into a room in the house that has reinforced concrete walls. In our case, we went down to our apartment building's bomb shelter for 10 minutes-as far as I know every apartment building in Israel has one. Fortunately, the kids took it well and were not scared.  Please ask President Obama to make aid to Israel contingent on not using it to target civilians. 

In the south close to the border with Gaza where I've been working, life is much, much different.  People who could do so temporarily moved northward and stayed with family and friends out of rocket and mortar range.  Being outdoors when the siren goes off in the south is quite scary. Most rockets are relatively small, up to 12 pounds of explosives, and cannot bring down a building. But in the open space they splatter lots of metal fragments.  The bigger long distance rockets that were fired at lower intervals were the "Fajar" Rockets that carry 90 lbs of explosives. They cannot bring down a building but can destroy an apartment and killed 3 people in an apartment building. People in bomb shelters are considered to be safe.  And of course, the Iron Dome defense system reportedly destroyed 85% of rockets headed towards Israeli populated areas.  Still, in the south, the sirens went off many times a day and there was no school and no work because parents naturally wanted to be near their kids.  In contrast, in Gaza, the bombs dropped by the Israeli military ranged from 500 to 1,000 pounds, and in the past, also 2,000 pounds.  Ten or 20 times more powerful than those which they have sent our way.  When I'd go to our bomb shelter with my family, I would think of families like mine in Gaza. They had no sirens, no Iron Dome defense, no shelters, and because they are essentially trapped, nowhere to go.  But mostly, I thought about how terrified I'd be during the bombings. 

There is no safe place to go in Gaza. 

It wouldn't matter if buildings had shelters since the Israeli bombs often flatten the building they hit. There's literally nothing left.    I want you to ask your friends and family yo sign this letter to President Obama asking him to make aid to Israel contingent on not using it to target civilians because there is no military solution. Not for Palestinians. Not for us Israelis. Please ask President Obama to make aid to Israel contingent on not using it to target civilians. 

To reach a true peace for all of us, Israeli and Palestinian, our governments must choose diplomacy over more bombing.  The Israeli government must end its terrible siege of the Palestinians.  And the US must stop sending my government weapons they know will be used to violate the law and harm civilians.  I am happy we've reached a cease-fire and I hope this will lead to negotiations with the Hamas government. I remind myself that the British in pre-state Israel also considered the Israeli political groups terrorist entities. 

With hopes for a fair and lasting peace for both of our peoples,  Amir Terkel  P.S. This open letter to Obama first had a 25,000 signature goal, and you exceeded it. Then it had a 36,000 goal and you exceeded it. Let's see if we can reach 50,000.  P.P.S. I've attached a picture I took in the south over the last few days. Happily and luckily no one was hurt --but you can see how scary it must have been.  There is also a photo from Gaza (that I did not take obviously) for a sense of scale and proportion.  

Israel: https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/i1.jpg
Gaza: https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/p1.jpg      

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* Contact us directly at Jewish Voice for Peace.
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 550. Oakland, CA 94612
( 510) 465-1777 info@jvp.org


 

Please see the latest article on Tent of Nations
by World Vision


The Austin Stone Community Church, in Austin, Texas, sent a film crew to the Tent of Nations/Nassar family farm during the June 2011 Summer Youth Camp.  In this 23-minute film, Daoud Nassar talks about his faith as a Christian and follower of Jesus, and how the family's vision lead to the creation of the Tent of Nations Project.  Daoud also talks about the family's responses to the evils of the occupation, and how their faith, like all faiths, teach the concept of "Refusing to be enemies."

Love Your Enemies from The Austin Stone on Vimeo


Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) is a non-profit corporation.  Our mission is to support the work of other nonprofit organizations in the United States and internationally devoted to the nonviolent resolution of conflict and peaceful coexistence between all faiths and nations.   FOTONNA is managed on a volunteer basis by a core group of people in the United States and is governed by a Board of Directors. A growing group of supporters assist with a variety of tasks, including publicity, writing, event organizing, and community outreach. Churches and Interfaith NGOs form an important base of spiritual and financial support. 

In pursuit of our mission, we work closely with other non-profits committed to the search for peace.  Organizations we have supported in our inaugural year include the following: 

TENT OF NATIONS

Daoud Nassar is a Palestinian farmer living and working in the fertile hill country south of Bethlehem. The Nassar's farm, in the family for four generations, is ringed by Jewish settlements and the encroaching Separation Wall.  The family has been offered millions for the land, but they remain steadfast. "This land is our mother," says Daoud. "Our mother is not for sale." Under his leadership, the family has taken the case to establish the family's land rights to the Israeli Supreme Court.  To demonstrate their commitment to peace and coexistence, the Nassar family has established "The Tent of Nations" providing arts, drama, and education to the children of the villages and refugee camps of the region. In addition, Daoud and his family have also established a Women's Educational Center offering classes in computer literacy, English, and leadership training.  In recognition of the Nassar’s courage and groundbreaking work for peace, we have named our nonprofit “Friends of Tent of Nations” to underscore our commitment to building a bridge between our country and others like the Nassars working for world peace.  Learn more about the Nassars at www.tentofnations.org,  

INTERFAITH PEACEBUILDERS 

Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington DC that sends delegations of Americans to Israel and Palestine to connect with peace groups and to understand the facts of the conflict first hand.  IFPB and FOTONNA enjoy a close relationship:  the Nassar farm is a regular feature of the IFPB delegation to Israel-Palestine.  In November 2008 FOTONNA co-sponsored an event the San Francisco Bay area with Interfaith Peace Builders featuring Daoud Nassar and several Palestinian and Israeli artists.    www.interfaithpeacebuilders.org  

COMBATANTS FOR PEACE 

FOTONNA maintains close connections with faith communities here and in Israel-Palestine and often co-sponsors events in support of non-profits working for peace in conflict areas.  In March 2009 we co-sponsored an event with Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, VA.  The event was a presentation by Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian organization devoted to reconciliation and a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  Combatants for Peace carries out its educational and fundraising work in the United States through the nonprofit Rebuilding Alliance.  Learn more about Combatants for Peace at www.rebuildingallliance.org  

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR 

FOTONNA is committed to working with and supporting the work of other organizations committed to non-violence in the search for a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In early 2009 we co-sponsored an educational and fundraising event with Love Thy Neighbor,.  LTN is a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization that provides educational resources and programs to train young people in non-violence as a way of resolving conflict.  www.ltneighbor.com 

JOIN US 

To date, over 300 individuals and families have become members of FOTONNA. Use the contact form to become a member. Your information will not be shared with any organizations or individuals, nor will you be “spammed” with frequent emails! We will send out periodic newsletters and notices of special events such as events and program by partner nonprofits and organizations sponsored by FOTONNA.  Use the contact page to join and the donation form to help us in our work. 

5621 N. 9th Road Arlington, VA 22205 (703) 524-5657 info@fotonna.org

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