Daoud and the Nassar family are still waiting for the July 21 deadline for the Military Courts to provide a rationale to the Israeli Supreme Court for two items:  1) the Military Court’s refusal to grant recently filed building permits; and, 2) its refusal to put a stop to the demolition orders already issued.  Daoud was informed of the original filings two days after arriving in the States for the Spring Tour in April; his lawyer went to work immediately, filing a complaint in the family’s name.  When pressed, the Military Courts asked for a three-month extension of time to get their act together. This is simply another example of delay, intimidation, provocation, putting the family on edge – and another example of the fact that the Military Courts have no case against the Nassar family and they know it.
The family will let us know if/when we might need to take any action on this issue, so please be prepared in case FOTONNA needs to activate our Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Your support with the latest request for action was remarkable; please be ready to act again at Daoud’s request and with his guidance. We only follow his advice on these very serious issues.
Meanwhile, it has been hot, hot, hot on the land!  There is real concern over the survival of many of the newly planted trees, and one of the cisterns leaked all of its water because of a crack in the cemented interior.  Please pray for some rain (which would be a real miracle during this time of year!)
Daoud will give us a fuller update on these and other concerns after the July 21 deadline has come and gone. He hasn’t had much breathing space lately!  We will send out a separate email message from him when it is time.
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Olive Oil Ministry
Tent of Nations has been the recipient, since 2009, of the net earnings from the sale of Palestinian olive oil through the Olive Oil Ministry (OOM).  This ministry is an all-volunteer partnership linking 17 churches in the Northern Virginia/Maryland/DC area with Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ (the OOM founding church).  These 18 congregations represent Catholic, Congregational, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Quaker congregations.  The list of participating churches has grown from three to 18, and more are being added each year.
*(see list below)
Robert Mertz, of Westmoreland, has been the leading force behind the project, and here is some of what he had to say on the subject at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in June 2016:
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100-Year Anniversary!
From May 9-12, 2016, Tent of Nations celebrated 100 years of the existence of Daher’s Vineyard.  Over 50 individuals from around the world registered to attend the events at one level or another; many others volunteered to help set up prior to the planned activities and clean up after the events were over.  In addition to the four-day program, Meta Flor (coordinator) arranged for a choice of activities over the week-ends of the 7th-8th and the 13th-14th of May. The Main Event that took place on Thursday, May 12, was attended by members of the community-at-large who were invited to commemorate this important milestone that mirrors the larger struggle for Palestinian land rights. There were 20-plus members of the Nassar family and about 150 other people who gathered to share in music, dance, speeches, great food and a lot of laughter.
I want to encourage you to go to the FOTONNA website. You will see reports, pictures and a short video provided by a variety of sources.  The report from the UK is especially full of great visuals, and we appreciate their sharing their experience with the world!
Bill Plitt was able to attend as a representative of the FOTONNA Steering Committee, and he was greatly impressed by the turnout, the enthusiasm, the organizational skills and professionalism of Meta Flor, and the incredible outpouring of support from around the world.  We have two stories to share about events that were taking place in other parts of the USA. If you have any other special items to add to our list, please send them in!
You can still continue to:
  • Encourage your church community to plant a tree in solidarity with the Nassar family;
  • Lift up the family in prayer at a church service;
  • Educate people about what is happening on the land;
  • Offer up scholarship money for youth in your community to travel to the land and volunteer on the farm;
  • Write a letter to your elected representatives and senators and President Obama to let them know your personal opinion on the situation and encourage them to be open-minded in their struggle to understand both sides of the story in Israel/Palestine;
  • Organize a tour to the land within your community at any time during 2016;
  • Sign up for one of the Interfaith-Peace Builders tours; and
  • Keep the family, including all of the Israelis and Palestinians working for peace, in your prayers and thoughts.
Both Trinity Presbyterian Church and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral planted tree in solidarity with the Nassar Family.
We can’t thank enough these two faithful friends of Tent of Nations for their ongoing support. It takes all of us working together.
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Volunteering on the Land:
There will be three harvest camps that you can volunteer for this fall:
August 11-15, 2016 – Almond and Fruit Harvest
September 5-15, 2016 – Grape and Fig Harvest
October 24 – November 3, 2016 – Olive Harvest
Contact Daoud at: www.tentofnations.org for more details and to sign up.
The harvesting of fruit and olives during this period of time takes place all over the Palestinian area; you can help out at more places than just the Tent of Nations. All willing hands are welcome!
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Palestinian Recipe Book:
We are on our third order of books.  More than 360 books have already been given away for donations or as gifts for hosts and sponsoring organizations for Daoud and other Steering Committee members on the tours.  If you would like to have a copy, donations as small as $10 can get you one.  Simply write a check to FOTONNA – mark “recipe book” in the memo line – mail to: FOTONNA – Kay Plitt – 5621 N. 9th Road – Arlington, VA  22205.
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Spring 2016 Tour:
Daoud travelled with Bill Plitt and Beth Moore and his 16-year-old daughter, Shadin, on the Spring 2016 Tour from April 5-12 that took place mostly in and around Austin, Texas.  Many thanks go out to FOTONNA’s Beth Moore and to the organizing teams in Texas that put together a great variety of visits and events.  As always, people welcomed these intrepid travellers with open minds and hearts, embracing them as family.  Shadin had opportunities to meet with some young American students while there and was able to share her story and, at the same time, break all of the typical stereotypes of Palestinians as uneducated “terrorists”.  She wowed them with her wonderful talent as a fine pianist, her natural beauty and poise, her intelligence and her remarkable grasp of the English language. Daoud, of course, was so very proud of her! If she is any indication of the future of the Palestinian people, they are in good hands.
Please check out our FOTONNA website for more details and pictures from this remarkable tour.
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Summer 2016 Tour by Amal Nassar:
Not only is Daoud in demand as a presenter, but his sister, Amal, has also been invited to attend conferences and to speak at various other venues in the States.  In June, she attended workshops and met with a lot of people at the Sojourner’s Conference in Washington, DC (her second time there).  Serving on a panel that discussed “racism” around the world, Amal was able to bring another definition of the term to the group that went beyond “color” and focused on cultural/social types of “racism”.  She is always able to share the family saga as an example, and people appreciate her sense of humor in the midst of the pain of the situation on the ground.
Amal was also invited to speak at several venues in and around Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Bob Cantrell, a retired pastor from Oak Ridge who attended the 100-Year Commemoration, was so impressed with Amal that he organized a series of events at the end of her Sojourner experience in and around his home town.  People who were not initially familiar with the story from the “other” were amazed and open to hearing about a new perspective on long-standing stereotypes.  Amal had standing-room-only crowds at some events, and she impressed everyone with her steadfast message of deep faith, non-violence in the face of violence, and the long-held belief that the family “Refuses to be Enemies”.
Among the activities Amal was involved in was a silent protest with the Women in Black, a visit to Children’s Hospital and an interview with a local TV station.  She was overwhelmed by the support and with the show of empathy from so many.
Again, there aren’t enough words to express our thanks to supporters like Bob and his cadre of friends in Tennessee.  This is, indeed, a faith-filled journey.
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The Nakba Museum Project:
Sites for showing the Nakba Museum Exhibit are being planned for Fall 2016!  If you would like to host the exhibit or support venues/traveling expenses, please contact us at info@nakbamuseumdc.org or visit our website www.nakbamuseumdc.org
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Voices from the Holy Land:
The recent showing of six films on six consecutive Sundays related to the Palestinian issues was gratifyingly successful.  (Please see the Spring 2016 Newsletter for more details.)
If you are interested in putting together a program such as this, we recommend that you put plans into motion at least six months in advance.  Getting five or more churches or organizations to support your efforts takes time, and you may need to educate people about the need for such a program.  We would love to see this duplicated across the country.  The footwork has already been done for you, thanks to the diligent work of a group of people who believe deeply in peace with justice for all Palestinians and Israelis.  Film is a perfect venue for provoking discussion; go for it!!
Any organization interested in receiving the kit that demonstrates how to pull off this kind of effort may contact Kathy Drinkard, Chair of the Middle East Working Group @ Grace Presbyterian Church (7434 Bath Street, Springfield, VA  22150) or Deepak Kenkeremath.  Both can be reached at:  GPC_MEWG@cox.net.
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Inter-Faith Peace Builders Tour and Holy Land Trust Tour:
There are opportunities for travel to Palestine/Israel this fall with highly regarded tour leaders.  Check out these websites to find out more details about the Inter-Faith Peace Builders (IFPB) and Holy Land Trust (HLT) trips.
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With gratitude for your support and faith in the work of TON and FOTONNA!
FOTONNA Steering Committee

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