Current Newsletter

FOTONNA/TON Fall 2019 Newsletter

– September 30, 2019 –

 
Dear Friends,

Daoud has added an update (below) on what has been happening on the farm through the actions (or inactions) of the military courts.  You may recall from the last two NLs that in December 2018, demolition orders had been placed on the land in a corner section that wasn’t normally worked on daily.  The orders were found under rocks and posted on fence posts; they never directly notify the Nassars when these demolition orders are being issued.  Of course, the 45-day appeal deadline had come and gone when the orders were found (plus two more papers found later on).  The Nassars appealed, nonetheless, but are still waiting for a response to that appeal from the courts.  Another game of cat and mouse is being played out, leaving the Nassar family in a continuous state of limbo.  But, of course, the Nassars don’t let that stop them from moving forward with a renewed sense of hope and faith that they are doing the right thing.  The family saga is being heard by more and more people on the farm and in Europe and in the U.S., and the Nassars will not be silenced nor stymied in their fight to finally get the land registered in their name and to work towards peace with justice through non-violent actions.  As Daoud says, keep the faith!!

If the courts do take actions that we need to respond to, we will be issuing our Emergency Response Plan (ERP) and will ask you to take action on behalf of the Nassar family at that time.  As always, we take steps based on what Daoud advises us to take.

Daoud Updates about the Farm:

In December 2018, the military authorities put two new demolition orders for 600 newly planted olive and grape trees on an area we developed in the last three years. The claim is that those trees were planted on what is so-called State Land.

We found the demolition orders in February 2019 on a fence in a place that was hard to find.  We immediately prepared all needed documents; we responded legally, although it was late, but we managed to start a legal battle in August, and the military authority should respond in October.  We will know more by the end of this month.  It is a big frustration for us to deal with that; it takes a lot of energy from us, but we always decide to stand up and continue our journey for justice.

This year, as every year, we managed to develop new terraces and we planted them with new trees.  Special thanks to all people who contributed to this project whether by helping financially to develop new fields or by sponsoring and/or planting trees.

Our long-term plan is to increase the farm production by planting new olive, grape and other fruit trees.  Also by doing that, we are protecting the land from the danger of confiscation.

We had a wonderful summer this year.  Many international/local guests and volunteers visited us.  We appreciate international presence on the farm very much.  Many thanks to our short- and long-term volunteers who came and helped.

We are preparing now for the olive harvest starting the 21st of October and lasting for 10 days. We are expecting 15 volunteers to be with us during the olive harvest period.

Our highlight this summer was our children’s camp.  Under the title “Growing Strong” we had a wonderful two weeks of activities and workshops with 50 children from the Bethlehem area and refugee camps.  Seventeen international volunteers came and helped during the summer camp.

Through the summer camp, we want to empower the children and encourage them to discover their talents in order to help them to focus on them and convert the negative energy into a positive way.

Our women’s project in the village started again in September after the summer break.  Jihan is working with a new group of women for about a school year from September 2019 till the beginning of June 2020.  Women volunteers are welcome to come and help.

We keep going with all that we are able to do in this very difficult political situation.  We will continue our work “with heart and hand, we change the land.”

Thanks to all people who are walking with us, praying and supporting us on our long journey for justice.  I believe, together we can make a difference.

Fundraising Appeal:

I know that most people wait until the end of the year before deciding which organizations to make donations to.  Because we are not a tax-exempt organization, it might not make any difference to you as to when you give, however.  We try to fulfill Daoud’s budget request as early in the year as possible so that he has cash on hand for upcoming expenses.  At this point, we are coming up a bit short in order to fulfill that promise.  In spite of the upcoming tour in November, where we expect to have some donations come in, we are predicting that we will still be needing an additional $11,200 for 2019 (out of a budget request for $67,000).  Anything you can give to help us fill that gap will be welcome.  The largest budget item is for continuing work on the land.  Any additional funds raised between now and the end of December will be forwarded to meet the projected TON 2020 budget needs.

The most difficult thing we have to do is get the funds to Daoud in a timely manner.  We always send funds with tour groups with which we are familiar (EP or Telos) or individuals whom Daoud recommends who are traveling to Palestine and will be visiting the farm.  If you know of groups that might be able to take cash with them, please let us know at:  kayplitt@comcast.net.

New mailing address for FOTONNA:

Please use this new address for sending donations (as of July 2, 2019):

Kay Plitt – c/o FOTONNA

111 Bowfin Bay – Peachtree City, GA  30269

Checks should be made out to:  FOTONNA

OR

Pay by PayPal through our website:  fotonna.org

 

2019 – FOTONNA Tour Updates:

 Spring 2019 – The tour organized by Beth Moore, our Tour Coordinator, and Mary Kay Turner in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area was rather spectacular, but not only because it was held in such a lovely, wild part of the country.  Jihan and Bishara were able to come with Daoud, and Bill Plitt joined them as they told their stories to a wide group of supporters.  For one of the few times on Daoud’s many tours, the family was able to play the “tourist” game and toured Yellowstone National Park.  Granted, it was an eight-hour tour rather than the expected four-hour tour, but that is another story.  They did see some incredible sights!

We want to thank all of those individuals who made this tour such a spectacular success.  We cannot do this alone, and we are very happy to count you as new friends of Tent of Nations and the Nassar family.

   Daoud speaks to a group in Jackson Hole, WY

Fall 2019 – Beth Moore has completed arrangements for Daoud’s Fall 2019 Tour in Iowa with one additional event in Nebraska and one in Illinois.  Please see the flyer (attachment #1) attached to this email message and share it with all who may be interested in attending one of these presentations.

Volunteering on the Land:

We have created a handout that we hope will encourage volunteers to go and work on the farm (see attachment #2).  University students and their professors might work together to design an internship, along with Daoud, to meet some of his greater needs.  If you can share this with your friends and colleagues at work, in churches, in university or college settings, or just in your neighborhoods, that would be great.  You can find more details on the TON website and need to complete a Volunteer Application Form at:  tentofnations.org.

                   Volunteers cultivating the land                                    
Setting up a beehive – volunteer project                  

Most volunteers help pay for their expenses on the farm (meals, etc.).  Financial assistance to cover these costs and, possibly, partial travel expenses, will be considered based on need. Volunteers will need to apply for this assistance.  You can contact FOTONNA’s Volunteer Liaison, Andie Sweetman, for more information at:  <andie.sweetman@gmail.com>.

Fall 2019 Steering Committee/Advisory Council Meeting:

This annual meeting takes place at the end of Daoud’s Fall Tour in November.  This year, we will meet on Sunday, November 17, 2019.  One of the primary points of discussion will concern a Succession Plan for Steering Committee Members; we have been wrestling with this issue for a year and hope to come up with a job description (or descriptions) of the Executive Director (or co-directors) position.  Anybody interested in learning more, please contact Bill Plitt at:  <teach5621@comcast.net>.

Thank you so much for your continuing interest in our work together to build a more just, compassionate and loving world.

On behalf of the FOTONNA Steering committee, thanks for all you do – Kay Plitt