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We, the undersigned, are writing on behalf of Tent of Nations, a peace project located on the Nassar Family’s 100-acre farm, located six miles southwest of Bethlehem in Area C of the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory. Area C is under full Israeli civil and military control.
The Nassar family purchased the land more than one hundred years ago, and they have been continuously living on and farming this land since then. In 2001, the Nassar family named their farm Tent of Nations, receiving visitors from around the world to foster a connection between the land and people. The farm is dedicated to sustainable agriculture and hosts programs for women and children from the area. In 2019, the number of international visitors was close to 10,000.
Tent of Nations is supported by many church and religious organizations in the U.S. and Europe. They organize visits to the farm, help support Tent of Nations’ educational and peacebuilding programs, and sponsor volunteers who live and work on the farm.
In 1991, Israel declared the Nassar farm “state land,” beginning a process designed to force the Nassar family to leave their property, so that it can be absorbed by the neighboring Jewish settlement.
Since then, the family has been engaged in the courts to prevent Israel’s efforts to take their land. They have submitted documentation of ownership, fulfilled requirements for repeated land surveys, complied with requested applications and other administrative hurdles, and successfully appealed orders to demolish structures and to cease agricultural activities.
Following a lengthy and costly series of applications, denials, delays and appeals, in 2006, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Nassars could begin the re-registration of their property required by Israel of landowners in Area C.
Since then, however, the process has been subject to continued delays on the part of Israeli military and civil authorities. In 2019, the Nassars finally received confirmation that their application was complete, but additional delays and demolition orders followed.
The Israeli Registration Committee met in February 2021 to discuss the Nassar’s re-registration application. Despite repeated inquiries, the Nassars continue to await notification of the results of that meeting.
The delay in the land re-registration continues to expose the Nassar farm to the risk of destruction and confiscation.
• Settlement expansion and road construction have accelerated, threatening the Tent of Nations farm and restricting access to it.
• Two intentional fires have destroyed over 1000 fruit and olive trees.
• Last year, Israeli army soldiers entered the land without warning and with a bulldozer, destroying approximately 50 fruit trees.
It is critical that the re-registration of the Nassar farm be completed without further delay. Completion of the land re-registration will constitute Israel's recognition of the Nassars as the owners of this land and will end their legal struggle.
We ask the U.S. State Department to direct U.S. embassy staff to attend the hearing of the Israeli Registration Committee, in support of the Nassar family's re-registration of their land. (Re-registration Case numbers 3714/2 and 3715/2). The hearing has been re-scheduled twice, in October and November of 2022, and is now scheduled for January 16, 2023,
We also call for the U.S. government to press Israeli authorities to end all eviction and demolition orders and other actions against the Nassar property.
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