My Story

My Story

I live in the U.S. not by choice, but because I no longer have a home in ‪#‎Palestine‬ to return to. It has been 24,707 days since my village of ‪#‎Tarshiha‬ Palestine was ethnically cleansed by ‪#‎Israel‬ during the 1948 ‪#‎Nakba‬. Today, my old village is an illegal ‪#‎Israeli‬ settlement called Ma’alot. Despite this, I will never give up; cause ‘there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it is sent away.’

These are photos of Jewish immigrants/settlers/squatters who moved into my village of Tarshiha soon after its occupation in 1949.


A Storify Conflict by Numbers

A Storify Conflict by Numbers

On July 7, 2014, Israel launched a colossal ground, air, and naval assault on the Gaza Strip, the tiny Palestinian coastal enclave Israel controls. This was the third, and to date the worst, such assault waged by Israel against Gaza since 2008. It was an outrageous act of premeditated aggression to which the Israeli government gave the Orwellian name “Operation Protective Edge.”

Check out my Storify to see a 50-day war by numbers.


In Pursuit of Peace- A Palestinian/Israeli Dialogue

In Pursuit of Peace- A Palestinian/Israeli Dialogue


Dr. Hanan Ashrwai, PLO Executive Member
Mr. Ehud Barak, Former Prime Minister of Israel

Hosted by: MSC Wiley Lecture Series
The MSC Wiley Lecture Series exists to broaden the educational experiences of the Texas A&M community by encouraging thought-provoking discussion on national and foreign policy issues


A program that featured Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Legislative Council Executive and Former Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Ehud Barak. Israeli-Palestinian relations are best discussed from the vantage point of officials from inside each state who have the ability to discuss the backgrounds and possible solutions to this conflict. Through prepared remarks and discussion, each speaker will address how Israel and Palestine can reach a solution and what role the United States should take in the deal.

Watch Hanan eloquently discuss the political tension in the region and refute Barak’s claim that Palestine never existed with evidence of his identity through birth records that show Palestine as his birth state.


Texas A&M student Mahmoud Yamak voiced his opinion of the speech on facebook.




About the MSC Wiley Lecture Series:

The MSC Wiley Lecture Series is a showcase featuring world-renowned speakers discussing thought-provoking topics of global significance. It is a student-led organization that augments education through the development of leadership and responsibility. The series provides Texas A&M students with opportunities to complement their classroom education by allowing them to directly interact with the men and women who influence the world.

A talk by Daoud Nasser, A Palestinian Christian Farmer

A talk by Daoud Nasser, A Palestinian Christian Farmer

Hosted by: The Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights

Daoud Nassar, Palestinian Christian farmer and Director of the Tent of Nations (TON) project, a peace and education center located on the Nassar family’s 100-acre farm near Bethlehem, spoke at various churches and universities between April 6th and 11th.

The Tent of Nations has a mission to build bridges between people, and between people and the land. These bridges are created by bringing different cultures together to develop understanding and promote respect for each other and our shared environment.

To realize this mission, TON project run’s educational projects at Daher’s Vineyard, and organic farm which stretches 100 acres, is owned by the Nassar family and is situated 9km southwest of Bethlehem, Palestine. The Nassar farm is a  center where people from many different countries come together to learn, to  share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope.

Daoud Nassar discusses his project, the Israeli occupation and process of land confiscations, including the attempts at taking his family’s farm, and the journey of his family since 1916 as they have sought to live creatively in the midst of an increasingly violent situation.


TON is surrounded on three sides by Israeli settlements and one side by the Palestinian village of Nahalin. With a mission to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation and peace between people and the land, TON has a sign at the entrance to the farm proclaiming, “We Refuse to be Enemies.”


The Nassar family has been struggling to retain hold of their land, ‘Daher’s Vineyard’, for more than 20 years. The family has been fighting a legal battle to keep hold of the land since it was classified as ‘Israeli State Land’ and thus threatened with confiscation in 1991. The struggle is ongoing. However, with a commitment to peaceful resistance and through the solidarity of those who have visited the land, much has been achieved. Tent of Nations continues to work to protect and develop the farm as a place where people can meet, learn, work together, and inspire one another.

What we do

We offer workcamps and volunteer opportunities; we run Children’s Summer Camps and a Women’s Empowerment Project, and we welcome groups and visitors of all shapes and sizes.

We run a series of workcamps throughout the year which give us valuable support for the running of the farm and are a key part of our aim to help individuals feel more connected to the land and our environment. See below for dates of this year’s workcamps.

We run empowerment programs for women and children in the local area. By building confidence and capacity in those whose lives are a daily struggle due to the situation facing Palestinians today, we can help create a better future for tomorrow. Find out about our Women’s Project and Children’s Summer Camps.


Daoud Nassar’s Powerpoint Lecture discusses how this farmer has had to adapt to illegal Israel policy throughout the generations. An illegal policy that includes the inability to have access to water and electricity, or even the ability to build on Nassar’s own land.

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TON is a small family-owned farm that welcomes individuals and groups to visit, volunteer, and hear our story. TON welcomes international volunteers on long and short term basis, giving individuals from around the world a unique opportunity to broaden their own personal development, while also giving us invaluable support in developing our projects and keeping the Nassar farm going and growing.

TON welcomes international volunteers on long and short term basis, giving individuals from around the world a unique opportunity to broaden their own personal development, while also giving us invaluable support in developing our projects and keeping the Nassar farm going and growing. Find out about becoming a volunteer.

They also welcome all types of guests and groups to their farm and are proud to be able to provide a space for visitors to the West Bank to come to learn about their story, to witness active and peaceful resistance on the ground, and find out more about the greater situation in Palestine. Visit Tent of Nations and check out the facilities that they offer.


University of Texas students club, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, takes photos with Daoud Nassar and his daughter Shadin who flew in from Palestine to give this lecture.

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Food and some Fun Competition!

Palestinians love to eat! As does every culture and some well know traditional Palestinian favorites are shawarmas and falafel.

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Shawarmas are an Arab meat prepared dish, where lamb, chicken,turkey, beef, veal, carabeef, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap. Wraps are the most common form of Shawerma.

Shawarma is an Arabic term that means ‘turning’, in reference to the rotisserie-cooked nature of the meat, which “turns” around an axis. They are generally wrapped in pita bread and filled with yummy additions; including pickles, fried potatoes, and garlic sauce.

Falafel Image Credit “Choices in St. Louis”

Falafels are also another Palestinian favorite. It is a deep fried ball or patty that is made from chickpeas and spices. It is a vegetarian food and is one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East.

Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners is most popular in countries like Palestine, Egypt and Syria. It is regarded as a “fast food” and sold like hot dogs by street vendors. Falafel is also the national dish of Palestine.

How could we not incorporate this traditional dish into a tasty, but fun competition?! Of course if had to be done! Here is a little friendly falafel eating competition from this year’s festival.

Shout out to Nasser El Haj for chowing down 8 full falafels! Way to go!

Qoosa mahshi is also another traditional Palestinian dish, that takes hours to prepare and only minutes to devour. Qoosa mahshi is stuffed zucchini. You begin by ‘efharing’ the qoosa, or hollowing out the qoosa using a qoosa corer. You then stuff it with a rice, ground meat, and spice mixture and then bake it. SO delicious!

One of the challenges of ‘efharing’ qoosa (hollowing it out), is not breaking through the zucchini! Most new brides have horror stories to tell on their first experience efharing qoosa. Break through the zucchini, your mixture won’t stay, and your dish is sure to be ruined! Palestinian women take pride in their ability to core and cook a good qoosa dish.

So how about we have a little bit of fun with a qoosa efharing competition! Ladies and gentlemen, lets see who can best core the zucchini!

Shout out to Nora Al-Titi for winning this year’s qoosa efharing competition!

Join us next year to become king or queen of the falafel and qoosa efharing competitions!

Dabke Dancing

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Every culture has their own traditions. Palestinian culture is centered around food, family, and dabke. All of these will bring about a sure fire good time. Dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance that is performed throughout Palestine and combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. The line forms from right to left. The leader of the dabke heads the line, alternating between facing the audience and the other dancers.

Dabke is present at every wedding, ceremony, graduation, and get together. It is a traditional Palestinian past time that is meant to gather and excite the crowd and has been done for generations. Below is a video of a professional Houston Dabke troupe that performed at this years Palestinian Festival.

No Palestinian party is complete without Dabke dancing. So it would only be right that our audience members joined us in the fun! Check out this short clip of our audience showing off their Dabke skills!

The festival can’t go on without a little friendly Dabke competition. Of course, we had to have a little fun! Below is the Dabke competition video at this years festival! The dance is traditionally done the same, but every person put their own little spin or extra umpfh on this traditional Palestinian past time!

Thanks to all of our competitors and audience judges for making this year’s competition fun and exciting! Can’t wait to see you at next years festival! Don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!