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2 Days in Bethlehem

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/wandering_jew/article/2_days_in_bethlehem_20090729

Daoud Nassar is talking to a large group of Jews gathered on his 100-acre farm in the West Bank, which lies southwest of his native Bethlehem. Nassar explains that his property has no running water, no electricity, and he’s forbidden from building on it. An Arab-Christian Palestinian educated in Austria and Germany, Nassar lives on land purchased by his great-grandfather in 1916, which has remained in the family throughout Ottoman rule, the British Mandate and Jordanian control. In 1991, Israel declared his farm property of the state and pulled the plug on its utilities. Twice, neighboring Israeli settlers damaged his property, uprooting trees and puncturing a water tank. For the past 12 years, Nassar has been embroiled in an expensive legal battle trying to win back ownership — or, at least, a building permit. So far, he has only succeeded in accruing more than $140,000 in legal fees, an amount barely offset by growing almonds, olives and grapes.

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