The Tent of Nations, situated outside of Bethlehem, has become a symbol of self-sufficiency and self-sustainability for Palestine as the Nassar family fights for the land it has owned for nearly a century. The Nassar family has been fighting for the right to keep their land since 1991, when it was threatened with confiscation. Legal battles have been the norm ever since and more recently a demolition order was posted on the May 21, 2012 but the family and their lawyers were quick to appeal the decision the following morning.
The Tent of Nations was established in 2000 and a portion of the land was given by the Nassar family to the Tent of Nations project so locals and internationals would have a place to ‘build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace on a broad base.’
Due to the threat of demolition the family cannot build permanent structures on the land, and therefore the family and volunteers live in temporary structures such as tents and caves.
The Nassar family and the volunteers of the Tent of Nations live off of profits from Daher’s vineyard, the family’s farm which covers around 100 acres where olives, wheat, grapes and much more are grown. An order to stop cultivation was also part of the demolition order of May 2012.
Those living on the land have developed a system of self-sufficiency for water and electricity as the farm has never had access to either. Rainwater and solar power are their main sources for water and electricity.
Daoud Nassar calls on Palestinians to learn to be self-sufficient as a non violent approach to resisting the occupation. He also believes that donations only weaken Palestine by making it dependent on others.
Many volunteers have gathered at the Tent of Nations to help maintain and cultivate the land as Israel uses the justification that any land that is not being maintained and cultivated can be confiscated.