REFUSING TO BE ENEMIES
Last week we visited the Tent of Nations south of Bethlehem. Daher Nassar greeted us so warmly with the biggest, most genuinely joyful smile, and showed us his family’s farm. Though almost completely surrounded by large, growing settlements, his family has legal papers documenting their title to the 100-acre hillside farm dating back to the Ottoman Empire.
Their quiet, non-violent resistance to Israeli annexation of Palestine land offered an integrity to their guiding principle that is displayed on a large stone at the entrance - “We refuse to be enemies.”
Daoud Nassar, who spoke to our group, told us that while he does not know exactly how or what the future may hold, he believes the only way is for all the people, Israelis and Palestinians, to find their way back to living peacefully together as they did not so long ago.
They tell the story of one of their settler neighbor’s, an Israeli woman, who needed help near the road to their farm. After they helped her and gave her hospitality at their farm, she learned that they had no running water or electricity because the government wouldn’t supply these basic services despite the taxes the family paid on their land.
The woman was astounded. She went home and told her husband. The settlers had no idea who their neighbors were or how they were so badly their government treated them. The husband visited the farm also and now they are friends.
All this gives credence to the Nassar’s credo to refuse to be enemies and to be welcoming to all people.