Tent of Nations Farm
People Building Bridges
Fall 2015 Newsletter
We would like to wish you a blessed Christmas and holiday season with your loved ones. In this deteriorating political situation in Palestine, we find comfort in thoughts of love, hope, faith, and justice. We pray that, wherever you are, you are able to celebrate in peace and prosperity. We will continue to always keep our eyes on the light at the end of this dark tunnel.
In the past two months, the political situation in Palestine has been rapidly worsening. There have been many attacks throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, as well as in in south of Bethlehem where is a big settlement bloc called “Gush Etzion”. New ground and flying checkpoints have been set up and continue to make movement for Palestinians very difficult. In addition, existing checkpoints have been periodically closed and have prevented people from getting to work. The reality on the ground is becoming worse.
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the construction of a new religious school (Yeshiva) has been approved outside the Neve Daniel settlement near where the roadblock is located. If they go through with the plan, we fear that the Tent of Nations would become more isolated. About one and a half months ago, we received two demolition orders for two caves on our property. We appealed them to the court and are now awaiting an answer. Then, two days ago, we received three more demolition orders for main structures on the farm. We were given three days to appeal; therefore, we are now focusing all of our energy on this new problem over the next few days. This is very frustrating for us, particularly as we see new construction every day on the existing settlements surrounding us. We will keep you updated about any developments there and will let you know if and when actions are needed.
We are working on renovating more caves for volunteers to live in, especially in the cold winter months. In the month of November, we experienced many rainy days, the water of which we collected in our cisterns. We are still working on being completely independent in terms of energy, using only our solar panels and, when necessary, our diesel generator. We are working on projects that will help make the farm self-sustainable.
At the end of October, we finished planting 2,000 grape vines for our new vineyard. With the help of our volunteers, we managed to plant everything in one week. Within the next month, our plan is to plant more trees. Thank you to everyone who helped us to plant our new vineyard. We have also planted tomatoes in a small garden near the animal farm. By continuing to plant and cultivate crops, we keep our hope for a better future alive.
Our olive harvest was a huge success. We harvested the olives and have made oil out of them. We had ten volunteers who helped with the harvest and we had a great time with them over the ten-day period. In the beginning of September, we had the fig harvest. Uta from Germany made fig jam and sun-dried figs, which we are now selling in our farm shop. It was a very rich harvest that yielded well.
Since September, we have had over 15 long and short-term volunteers stay at the farm. They have worked with the harvests, animal farm, tree planting, and general maintenance of the farm. Without them, the necessary functions of the farm could not be carried out. We thank our volunteers from the bottom of our hearts and we hope to see them again soon. We cannot stress the importance of the roles that volunteers play in being an international presence and continuing to help in keeping our farm safe from confiscation. For more information on how to become a volunteer, visit our website www.tentofnations.org.
From the end of the summer until now, we have had hundreds of visitors to the farm who have come to hear our story. Hailing from many different countries, we asked our visitors to go back home and tell our story in order to keep the hope alive. It is encouraging to see the number of visitors increasing. Just like the volunteers, our visitors play a crucial role in protecting our farm.
Tree Planting Campaign
Our 2016 Tree Planting Campaign will take place starting the beginning of January until the end of March. We invite you to come and plant a tree with us. If you are not able to come here and would like to contribute, you may sponsor a tree and we will plant it for you at the Tent of Nations.
Celebrations Tent of Nations
From May 9-12th, 2016, we will be celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Nassar family existence on the farm. Friends, old and new, are welcome to join us in celebrating this special time. We will be hosting a variety of workshops, activities, and field trips. It is important, especially now with the worsening political situation, to celebrate the positive things and to stand in solidarity with those who work for justice. Please visit our website or FaceBook page for more information. We hope to see you there!
We will continue to spread out the message of hope in a very dark political situation as the shepherds did 2,000 years ago knowing that love will defeat hatred and light will defeat darkness. Wherever you are, please continue to pray and to work for a just and peaceful world.
Thank you for your prayers, hope, and solidarity.
Blessings and Salaam,
Tent of Nations – People Building Bridges