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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Palestine & Israel: Tent of Nations and Presbytery Church (USA) Divestment

One of the last things I did before I left Palestine and Israel last November was to go to the Tent of Nations farm near Bethlehem. We met Daoud Nassar whose family has owned the farm for many generations. They are surrounded by Settlements and have faced harassment and intimidation for many years—because the State of Israel wants the land for further settlement.

On May 19, just a few short weeks ago, a field belonging to the Nassar family was bulldozed and 1500 fruit trees were levelled. It was a devastating act of brutality against the Nassar family. A recent newsletter from the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel included a BBC article about the Tent of Nations. I include that article here in this blog post because it gives a great history of the Tent of Nations and what is currently going on, and because it tells the wonderful story of the Nassar family and the quest to be agents of peace and non-violent resistance.

The link to the BBC article is found here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27883685.

On another note, the Presbyterian Church (USA), which met in a national convention this past weekend, voted to divest from 3 companies. We’re talking about $21 million dollars and the companies involved are Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar; these three companies supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory. The vote was 310 to 303, so it was a close vote.

The decision the Presbyterian Church (USA) made with respect to Palestine and Israel also reaffirmed Israel’s right to exist, endorsed a 2-state solution, encouraged interfaith dialogue and travel to Israel and Palestine to witness what is taking place, and instructed the church to consider positive investment in enterprises that create and advance peace.

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