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Family evicted by Israel

Linda Hiebert Sekiguchi
Minden

EDITOR:

I was greatly dismayed to learn that my Palestinian Christian friends, the Nassar family, have received eviction orders from the Israeli military. The family has owned their farm, just south of Bethlehem, since the 1920s, and has maintained ownership papers for generations.

I met Daoud and Jihan Nassar on their farm in February 2010 when I was visiting the West Bank. Their farm, The Tent of Nations (www.Tent of Nations.org), serves as the site for peace camps every summer. Christian and Muslim youth from the Bethlehem area are able to leave the confines of refugee camps and the concrete surroundings of the city and get in touch with themselves, in touch with nature, and in touch with God. Internationals from around the globe assist in leading the youth to learn how to “love their neighbors as themselves…”

The Nassars are active members of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. In addition to her duties as a wife and mother, Jihan teaches part time at Bethlehem Bible College and assists local Muslim village women with computer and homemaking skills.

Illegal Israeli settlements, built on land confiscated from Palestinian people, are encroaching on the Nassar farm from three sides. With impunity, several years ago settlers descended on their farm and cut down their treasured ancient olive orchard while the Nassar family stood helplessly by. Upon learning of this atrocity by extremist Jewish settlers, a Jewish group from Great Britain donated 40 young olive trees to them. We saw the trees that had been planted by volunteers from the local YMCA. The Nassars were most grateful for these acts of support and compassion.

I am incensed that this Christian family who has worked so diligently for peace and reconciliation in their West Bank community are being evicted from their home. I am mystified by the reasoning behind the Israeli military’s eviction orders. They make no sense. The people deserve to be able to live with hope, freedom, and dignity. Their land is a sacred trust that should not be taken away.

Readers who wish to express their concern for the Nassar family may contact the president, their senators/congress members, or call the San Francisco Counsel General for Israel at (415) 844-7500.

Thank you for your efforts for peace.