And the soldier’s child asked his soldier-father, “What did you do today, daddy?”
His reply, “I drove a bulldozer today.”
“Was it fun, daddy?”
“Oh, yes – it was lots of fun!”
“What did you do with the bulldozer, daddy?”
“I helped dig a big pit in the ground of our enemy – helped knock down almost 2,000 trees – buried them in the rubble of the ruined land.”
“What did you do today, child?”
“Oh, daddy, we had such fun, too!  We planted a lemon tree in our backyard – in our settlement home – overlooking the valley….”

*****************************

May 31, 2014

Dear Friends –

Daoud visited the devastated land for the first time mid-week.  The full scope of the destruction left him heartbroken, of course.  He told us that there was one lone fig tree left standing on the side of the hill (on purpose? by accident?) that was the sole witness to the work of the IDF soldiers.  It now stands as a living monument to what was lost – a lone sentinel that will someday have new friends, thanks to you.  The lawyers are still working with the courts – will update you as news comes in.

Please Note:  We know that many people want to organize trips and groups to help re-terrace the land and then re-plant the lost trees.  Daoud will need to have your long-term support for this, as he will be working hard at organizing a schedule of when, who and how this can be most productively done.  Please be patient with the process; this will take a long time, and there will be work enough for everyone over the next year or two – or maybe even three!

Please make note of the corrections/updates listed below; we had a bit of outdated contact information that made it into our Timeline and Petition Letter (my apologies):

  • Samantha Power is the current US Ambassador to the United Nations;
  • Email that will get notices forwarded to Daniel Shapiro, Ambassador of the US to Israel, is:  JerusalemACS@state.gov;
  • Replace the Israeli Foreign Service Desk (under US Department of State contact info) with the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), headed by Assistant Secretary Anne Patterson.
  • Add to your US Department of State contact info:  Christopher P. Henzel, Director of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (met with Daoud in February 2014).

We have been told that the State Department needs to hear from Congress before taking any real stance on this issue.  If you haven’t already contacted your Senators and Representatives, please take time to do so now.  Here is an easy link for you to use (just one of many that have gone out):

Congressional action alert:
http://www.maryknollogc.org/alerts/tent-nations-trees-terraces-destroyed-israeli-military

Scroll down in the body of the text and click on Write your senators and representative…, fill in the information and Submit.  If you haven’t signed our FOTONNA Petition Letter yet, you can do so through this link, also.

There has been an overwhelmingly supportive response from around the globe from friends of the Nassar family and the work carried out at Tent of Nations.  Individuals and organizations have put together their own petition letters, written to political leaders, called influential leaders at all levels of government, written oped pieces for their papers, and carried out demonstrations in front of the Israeli Embassy in NYC.  Peace groups from all persuasions are standing in solidarity with this remarkable family.  FOTONNA alone had 2,500+ signatures on its petition as of May 28, 2014, and the list is growing.

Over the last week, with your help, we were able to accomplish the following:

  1. sent out our Timeline and Petition Letter to over 1,780 email address and 360+ snail mail addresses for FOTONNA;
  2. spoke to many groups in Washington state on the 2014 Tour during the time of the crisis – news hot off the press!;
  3. contacted religious leaders, US State Department officials, Consulate officials in Jerusalem, and have emailed letters to the White House and other politicians with whom Daoud had just spent time in early May;
  4. responded to literally hundreds of emails and phone calls over the last week;
  5. had interviews with several radio station hosts and journalists, including an interview with Melinda Tuhus – can read about it on www.btlonline.org or on her blog post:  http://www.melindatuhus.net/blog;
  6. participated in a national conference call through Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) with Daoud as the featured speaker – had 134 ‘listeners’ sign on;
  7. received over 80,000+ hits on Daoud’s facebook page within the first couple of days of the word spreading like wildfire over the air waves;
  8. had a huge spike in number of ‘likes’ on the FOTONNA facebook page during May 20-27:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-the-Nassar-Family-FarmTent-of-Nations-Demolition/107340499312794;
  9. on May 29, had all of the FOTONNA Petition Letter signatures (2,500+) and CMEP Petition Letter signatures (1,760+) (as of May 28) delivered by former Ambassador Warren Clark (Executive Director of CMEP) and Russell Testa (JPIC Animator for the Holy Name Province Franciscans) to John Kerry’s office through intermediaries US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, and Dr. Shaun Casey (both men acknowledge that they were aware of the situation on the land);
  10. received questions and advice from other organizations and individuals as to next steps to take so we present a united front and a consistent message from the Nassar family;
  11. received a videotape of Daoud’s May 18th presentation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington – will be posted on the FOTONNA website; You can view the video here. and
  12. videotaped* a conversation with Daoud while in Arlington, VA on May 27 before he flew home; on Tuesday, June 3, a friend will be visiting with Daoud on the land and will be videotaping footage from the valley on the farm so you can see the true scope of the damage – should be available sometime during the end of the first week of June (please see the click-on Videos on the website).

*This video was done by ******** who flew in to Arlington from Austin, Texas on May 24th to add to the ongoing documentary on the Nassar family he will be producing over the next 2-3 years; he also traveled with Daoud and Bill Plitt on the first half of the Spring 2014 Tour in Washington, taping parts of the various presentations there.  You can help support this project by:

Please check out a 2012 blog post by Pastor Fred Strickert.  He and his wife Gloria served from July 2010 to December 2012 as ELCA Global Mission personnel in Jerusalem where Fred was Pastor of the English-speaking Congregation at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the heart of the Old City and also Special Assistant to Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL.  They got to know the Nassars very well during their stay there.

http://walkinjerusalem.blogspot.com/2012/12/we-refuse-to-be-enemies.html

We will not be sending any more email updates to you directly at this point.  Please keep in touch at www.fotonna.org and www.tentofnations.org with our ongoing updates as they are sent from Daoud.  FOTONNA and Tent of Nations will post them as often as needed, and we will be making specific “ASKS” from you when the political and legal picture becomes clearer over the next few days and weeks.  At this point, we are going to:

  1. prevent any more destruction on the land;
  2. keep up the pressure on the courts to finally re-register the land in the Nassar family name; and
  3. support the Nassar family as they seek financial recompense from the Israeli Military for their illegal actions and for the incredible loss of twelve years of hard work, 1,500-2,000 lost trees and grape vines, lost revenue from the sale and/or use of the fruit, etc.

We cannot thank all of you enough for the wonderful responses you made to our appeals for support.  It is also nearly impossible to capture the breadth, depth and width of this movement worldwide.  We are just a small piece in this whirlwind of action – small, but fierce – and there will be justice in the end.

In solidarity and with deep gratitude for all of you –

The FOTONNA Steering Committee:
Bill Plitt, Executive Director
Daoud Nassar, Director of Operations
Bill Mims, Secretary
Nadia Itraish, Outreach and Advisory Council Liaison
Michael Phillips, Fundraising and Business Advisor
Beth Moore, Tour Coordinator
Kay Plitt, Finance/Communications
Mark Braverman, Senior Consultant

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