A recent physical attack on the Nassar family highlight the never ending struggle for Palestinian existence on their own land.
By Jonathan Kuttab | Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) | Feb 2, 2022
The family’s persistence in remaining on the land has been one of the most remarkable examples of Palestinian sumud (or steadfastness) I have seen.
I have been associated with Tent of Nations and the Nassar family for many years. In fact, my law office in Jerusalem has been and continues to represent them in their ongoing legal battles to save their land from the Israeli government and the Jewish settlers who have been trying for years to steal it from them. I myself have participated in activities on their land. One time, I even found myself alongside Rev. Alex Awad and a Lutheran German minister alone with Daoud in confronting the settlers who were bulldozing into their land.
While the 100-acre farm has been in their family since their grandfather bought it over a century ago—and they have the documents to prove this!—the Nassar family’s attempts to hold onto their land and prevent the settlers from taking it over has been an ongoing battle. Every time we win a battle in the courts, new obstacles are created and new challenges arise. Because their title to the land is confirmed by law, Israel has been using new tactics, including claims for public expropriation and declarations that the entire area is “state land” and subject to confiscation.
Yet the battle has not only been within the realm of the legal system. The Nassar family has had to physically defend their land, nonviolently, from repeated encroachments and attacks, including the burning and uprooting of their trees, the bulldozing of their plants, harassment and intimidation, and constant attempts to destroy the few physical structures they set up. Repeated attempts to obtain building licenses or permits have been denied, and even the construction of rudimentary structures like the building of retaining walls or fences, digging cisterns, and doing other routine maintenance on their property has been met with summary demolition orders and belligerent visits from both the Israeli army and Jewish settlers. Access to their land has been made significantly more difficult, as Israel blocked the main road leading to it with mounds of earth and blocks of cement. They have even refused to allow the Nassars to hook up to the electricity grid. The family’s persistence in remaining on the land has been one of the most remarkable examples of Palestinian sumud (or steadfastness) I have seen.