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FOTONNA Newsletter June 2022

June 2022

Update from Daoud Nassar

Dear Friends of Tent of Nations,
As you might know, the re-registration hearing of the land that was scheduled on May 2nd was postponed and no date was set for the next hearing. We are asking our friends to continue raising awareness about the Tent of Nations among religious and political leaders in their own countries to keep the pressure on Israeli authorities to end the 32 year long legal struggle to keep the farm and bring justice for the Nassar family.
While we are dealing with legal issues, we are continuing to work the land, creating more positive facts on the ground, while inviting more people to come and visit the Tent of Nations. In the last 3 months, we were able to host several international visitor groups and volunteers. The international presence is very important to protect the farm and encourages us to continue the struggle for justice without giving up.
The highlight of the month of May was the visit of 300 young people from the community of Taizé, France. It was great to see how those young people were inspired by the story of the Tent of Nations, a story of steadfastness and hope. We pray that those young people went back home encouraged to continue to be change makers in their own communities.
Please continue to hold us in your thoughts and prayers as we walk on our long journey for justice.
Our journey continues with faith, love, and hope in action.
Blessings and Salaam,
Daoud Nassar
Director, Tent of Nations
— People Building Bridges —

A Message from the FOTONNA Steering Committee Chair

I am in a weekly study group on the Psalms with Daoud and several other members of the FOTONNA Steering Committee and Advisory Council. A participant in that group, Rev. Steve Hyde, shared a beautiful comment as we gathered online for our most recent study: “When I look at your faces (on the screen), it’s like seeing a montage of compassion and wisdom.” They were words that touched each of us. Thoughtful words. Encouraging words. Truthful words. What we experience in that group during our weekly reflection on the Psalms is a gift that supports and sustains us with the mounting challenges to Tent of Nations as well as the increased hardships globally and whatever personal difficulties we are facing.
When we on the Steering Committee think of you as the FOTONNA team of supporters, we also see a montage of compassion and wisdom.  We see generous people, gracious people, gifted people, committed people – a large team of people linked irrevocably to the Nassars and one another. We are thankful for you and your resilient spirit that will not give up or give in despite the ongoing harassment and attacks on the farm and the continual delay by the Israeli courts in re-registering the land to its rightful owners. Your active concern, letters of support, financial gifts, and presence at the farm as a visitor or volunteer strengthen the feeling of solidarity necessary to be resistant and persistent in working for a just solution.
It has been heartwarming to hear Daoud speak of the hundreds of visitors returning to the farm, most to visit and some to volunteer. Those visitors bolster the morale of the Nassars, giving a shot of adrenaline to our shared hope that we will eventually see the completion of the re-registration process and the peace-making work of Tent of Nations continue less encumbered.
Thank you for being part of that wonderful montage of compassion and wisdom, being among those who continue the faithful work of resisting and persisting until “justice rolls down like a mighty water and fairness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Grateful for your partnership in supporting the Nassar family,
Charlie Lewis, FOTONNA Steering Committee Chair

“LOOK TO THE GROWING EDGE”

This is a time of fierce urgency at Tent of Nations and among those who know their story and support their work. The destruction of the past 2.5 years has been devastating, “placing us back to the time when we first began Tent of Nations in 2001,” Daoud says. The road ahead is long, but we journey it together.
While we wait and press officials for a new date for the re-registration hearing, the Tent of Nations is fully active. Protection of the Land is continuing in many forms: cultivating and working the land ensures that the Israeli Absentee Property Law cannot be invoked to challenge ownership of the land; recruiting, receiving, orienting, housing, and feeding volunteers provides international witnesses; and responding legally to acts of destruction and confiscation is ongoing.
Yes, the olive trees are blooming, and 1000 new fruit and olive trees have been planted since the destructive fire of 2021. Now they must be surrounded with protective fences and watered. New water tanks have been placed around the property to make water more accessible for the trees and in case of a future fire.
A new vineyard will be developed by the end of this year, and an enhanced security system will soon be in place. The number of visitors since the beginning of the year has been growing exponentially each month. Facilities damaged by attacks from nearby villagers are being restored in order to house volunteers and visitors.
Theologian, writer, educator, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote the following in 1956 which could easily describe the challenges of our times:
“It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of a child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge!”
Thank you for continuing to share the story of the Nassars and this important place of hope in our troubled world. If you would like to contribute funds to support the work of the Nassars, click here. For all the ways in which you extend your love and support to them and to the people of Palestine we are truly grateful. We cannot do this work without you. Together in solidarity with you and the Nassars,
Beth Moore, Tour Planning and Finance Co-Director,
(with thanks to Bill Plitt for sharing the Howard Thurman quote)
PS – Be in touch with me, at ebmoore1@live.com if you’d like to include the Tent of Nations in your virtual programming. We are always grateful to continue the journey together with you. Your generous prayers, presence, and gifts mean so much to everyone involved with Tent of Nations.

Thank you! Gifts to FOTONNA are not tax deductible under US tax law, but are all used to support the crucial work of Tent of Nations. Click here for donation information.Your generous prayers, presence, and gifts mean so much to everyone involved with Tent of Nations. Thank you! Gifts to FOTONNA are not tax deductible under US tax law, but are all used to support the crucial work of Tent of Nations. Click here for donation information.


Grateful to be on this FOTONNA road with you!

In closing, let us reflect with gratitude on the truth of these words, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
“Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.
Light is stronger than darkness.
Life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours through Him who loves us.”
Thank you for all the ways you are walking on the FOTONNA road for justice with the Nassars! Your actions are a source of encouragement to the family as they continue their journey with faith, love, and hope!
Heidi Saikaly
FOTONNA Steering Committee
Communications Co-Director