Thanks to all of you who have written words of support to us and are wondering about the outcome of the hearing on January 16 th , 2023. With good reason, we had hoped this hearing would produce a decision by the Military Committee for Land Registration to recognize our land as privately owned. However that was not the case, and another
hearing has been set for February 12, 2023.
You know that we have been in both Israeli military and supreme courts since 1991 defending the rights to the land purchased by my grandfather one hundred years ago; that we have the original purchase documents showing our ownership of the land; and that this was documented during the British Mandate in the early 1920s. In the year 2001 we appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court which in 2007 directed the Military authorities to allow us to go through the re-registration process: which is required by the Israeli authorities of those Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank.
Finally in 2019, after multiple delays, the Israeli military authorities informed us the re-registration process could proceed, and the re-registration committee would begin its work. In January of 2021 we were informed the committee would meet and schedule a hearing. Nothing further was heard. Finally, after repeated inquiries we were told that there would be a hearing on December 13, 2021.
Beginning with that December hearing there have been six hearings scheduled, two of which were actually held. During the two year process begun in January 2021, the Absentee Property Custodian (representing the State of Israel) and any of our neighbors were allowed to “object” to our ownership by submitting a claim, substantiated with evidence, to the re-registration committee.
It is only within the past two years, during which time we have also suffered multiple attacks on our property and persons, that some neighbors submitted objections to our ownership. One objection came from villagers seeking the right of passage across our property to their adjoining farms. We settled the issue with them and they withdrew
their objections prior to the January 2023 hearing. A second objection came from a nearby village resident. This objector was dismissed by the re-registration committee in the hearing of November 21, 2022 because he did not show up and did not present any evidence to substantiate his objection.
The State of Israel is the major objector to our claim of ownership, and the only argument presented is that the land was declared State land in 1991. However, the Supreme Court’s decision in 2007 to allow us to re-register our land stands in opposition to that claim. Since they have produced no further evidence, we have argued that the committee should dismiss the Absentee Property Custodian’s objection.
Despite all of the Palestinian objectors withdrawing or being dismissed, and the fact that the representative of the State had never appeared or filed additional evidence of their claim; the committee contacted all objectors and required their presence at this most recent hearing. And once all were present the committee decided to bring both the Absentee Property Custodian and the Palestinian family claiming ownership of part of our land back in to the re-registration process. This basically returns the re-registration process to its beginnings. Both objectors were given 14 days from January 16th to submit evidence to substantiate their claims to the Committee.
It is a very difficult time for us, and your continuing prayers, greetings, and words of affection help keep our spirits alive. That, and the fact that visitor groups continue to come to see what is happening in this land we call holy (even in January when there are usually few visitors), and return to tell our story which is a struggle for human rights and justice. The land will soon begin to come alive again, and we welcome you to come and work it with us.
Blessings of the New Year to you all.
Daoud Nassar and the Tent of Nations/Nassar Family
A Message from the Friends of Tent of Nations Steering Committee:
Please continue doing whatever you can (including prayer) to keep a focus on the new court date, now re-scheduled for February 12, 2023. We don’t have specific action recommendations at this time, but invite you to explore and share the Tent of Nation’s updated website: https://tentofnations.com/.
Throughout this fall and winter, many group tours have continued to visit the Tent of Nations, sometimes 2 or 3 groups a day. These visits are a great encouragement to the Nassar family and a strong witness to the interest of international friends. If you are planning a trip to Israel/Palestine, please consider including a visit to Tent of Nations in your itinerary! Thank you for your ongoing care and prayers. Your concern is a blessing.
The FOTONNA Steering Committee