Fatima was the only Palestinian woman I have ever planted trees with in the Occupied Territories. Women generally stay at home to focus on the domestic needs of the family so I was happy to see her each day of planting. I felt a void not interacting with Palestinian women so it motivated me to seek them out when I returned this time.
On this day we were in Nahalin at the Tent of Nations, an educational and environmentally focused organic farm. They run empowerment programs for women and children locally, and offer learning based work camps to anybody who is interested. The owner Daoud Nassar spoke to us and saying “it was very important to have the international community on the side of justice and active in a nonviolent way” and also felt it was “important for Israelis to come visit”.
The farmland is hilly and beautiful. 400 dunams are owned by the Nassar family. The land in this area has been used for settlement expansion and it was surrounded by four or five settlements. The family has fought diligently in Israeli courts to keep their farmland and has so far succeeded. Things are difficult in Nahalin as farmers used to market their products in Jerusalem but due to access problems they are now forced to sell their products for one third of the original price in the much smaller market of Bethlehem.
The village counsel is very active in Nahalin and three of the members planted trees with our group. There’s a cave on the property where we gathered to share a meal and to talk. Daoud told us the farm was named after Abraham who was known for inviting people from all over the world to sit in his tent to talk. “The idea being there are no nationalities or differences…all just people, the same, coming together”.