On May 19, the Israeli military entered the Nassar family farm a few miles outside of Bethlehem in the West Bank and bulldozed more than 1,500 mature apricot and apple trees that were almost ready for harvest. The family has been battling in Israeli courts to hold onto their 100-acre farm, which is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements. Despite having all the paperwork documenting their ownership of the land going back almost a century, Israel claims the property is state land. In 2010, the family was served with 13 demolition orders which they are fighting in court. The Nassar farm is known as the Tent of Nations because the family has nurtured peaceful relations with their neighbors and with Israeli and international supporters.
The Israeli military’s action at the Nassar farm came less than a week before Pope Frances visited the Middle East and nearby Bethlehem, where the pontiff openly supported Palestinian’s pursuit of an independent state, said a short prayer alongside a section of Israel’s controversial separation wall and invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to the Vatican to pray for peace.
For more on this story, visit: Between The Lines – Daoud Nassar: Israel Destroys Fruit Orchard at West Bank Tent of Nations Farm (Week Ending June 6, 2014).