The Ugly Face of the Occupation

First the state drove 750,000 Palestinian’s out in 1948,then took land in the 6 Day War (1967), now they attempt to make it impossible for Palestinians to remain. Here is Daoud’s story

Daoud’s 100 acre farm south of Bethlehem has been in the family through 4 occupations: Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Israeli. Israel has colonized the area with 5 settlements and is striving to drive all the Palestinians off the land and into the cities. Daoud’s Palestinian Christian family has refused to be moved and has been having legal battles in courts for 20 years. They are protected by legal ownership papers from 3 of the four occupiers. Offered millions of dollars, Daoud’s response was “We can’t sell the land, our mother.”

Besides the legal battles, Israel has used several other strategies to get them off the land. The road to their farm has been blockaded. They are granted no permits for construction, so they utilize caves and tents. Even the tents have demolition orders from the Israeli army. Israeli settlers have uprooted 350 of their olive trees. The nearby Israeli settlement has abundant water – enough for a swimming pool – while rain collected in cisterns is the only source of water on the farm. The Israeli settlement has electricity 24/7 but Israel will not permit the farm to be connected to the grid.
In the face of all this harassment, Daoud and family have developed a strategy of their own. They call it the “Tent of the Nations.” Rather than abandon their land, they are committed to developing it with help from many nations. German aid brought them solar panels to relieve the heavy cost of diesel fuel for the generator. Volunteers from many nations, living in the tents, have replanted the olive trees. Camps for Palestinian children are held all summer to re-introduce them to the land. And most important of all, bridges are being built between Israelis and Palestinians. Daoud says, “We refuse to be enemies!”

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