My Turn: In the Middle East, nothing is ever simple
I read with interest the “My Turn” column by my friend Gray Fitzgerald, “Bulldozers leveled a dream of Mideast peace.” I wish the situation was as simple as the Rev. Fitzgerald presented it. But nothing in the Middle East ever is.
From what I understand, the Tent of Nations/Nassar Farm is a 100-acre farm located near the village of Nahalin, not far from Bethlehem in Area C of the West Bank. Area C is under both Israeli civil and security control, and Palestinians living in Area C are subject to the rule of the Israeli Civil Administration. Being subject to the rule of the Israeli Civil Administration, they must apply for permits and approval from the civil administration to build on or make any changes on their land, and/or appeal to the civil administration regarding any demolition orders.
The Nassars’ claims are being contested in a number of ways, including that the land in question (lower valley) is in fact Israeli state land and not the Nassars’ land, and that the Nassars never filed the appeal of the demolition order.
It should also be noted that Israel very aggressively seeks to maintain the land it claims to be Israeli state land and the Nassars were not singled out. Two weeks earlier, on May 15, the Israeli government demolished eight buildings in the Jewish Gush Etzion settlement, also not far from Bethlehem. Three homes were included in that demolition – one the residence of a single mother and her three sons.
The ongoing conflict in the Mideast is tragic. I hope and pray that we can stop fueling the fire of misunderstanding that comes with continually portraying Israel as the big, bad bully. Presenting a complex situation as simple and one-sided unfortunately does that.
(Rabbi Robin Nafshi is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Jacob in Concord.)