Covers April 2022 – March 2023
Presented at the DNTA AGM on 29th June 2023
You can also read this as a PDF: DNTA Convener’s Report 2022-23
It has been a busy year for DNTA. It is an understatement to say that life for those in our twin city continues to be difficult. The Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers frequently attack Nablus and its surrounding villages. Up to April this year 95 Palestinians had been killed in the occupied West Bank and Nablus is frequently subjected to military siege and attack.
However, our relationship with the Municipality and the people of Nablus has been bolstered by our delegation visit in November (see below) and our frequent Zoom meetings with friends and partners in the city. I cannot stress enough just how much our twinning and continued contact is appreciated by a people who often feel that the world has forgotten them.
Everyone on the DNTA committee is determined to increase awareness of the twinning and to continue to make links between individuals and organisations encouraging friendship and understanding between Dundee and Nablus.
As reported in previous newsletters, the largest-ever delegation from Dundee visited Nablus in November last year. Nine members of DNTA and Five members of Dundee Trades Union Council managed to get through despite Nablus being under siege for three weeks just prior to our arrival. It was a significant and emotional trip which you can read about in more detail on our website.
We also had an extremely successful and very well-attended report-back meeting held in person and over Zoom in the Unite offices. People from Dundee and Nablus were present.
We are very proud to say that our tree campaign has meant that over 1,000 trees have been planted in Nablus and the surrounding areas through your donations.
This is so important as settlers continually try to destroy olive trees in a bid to drive farmers off their land. We saw some of the damage on our trip and planted a few more while we were there. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this campaign.
Visit the FONSA website (Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Area) if you want to make further olive tree donations or indeed support FONSA’s Nurses and Midwifes’ campaign.
Public Events, Meetings etc
DNTA has continued to be involved in a wide range of activities this year. We kicked off in June with a successful stall at Westfest where we raised DNTA’s profile and sold Zaytoun products. In trying to develop relationships with schools, we are very pleased to have built links with pupils and staff in Morgan Academy participating in their cultural day in May and speaking to an S5 assembly at the end of February.
As a result of this contact, we were invited to talk to The Scottish Youth Parliament on our return from Nablus. Masa Turabi a student in Nablus joined us via zoom and gave first-hand experience of life under occupation to the MSYPs.
We have met with members of other Twinning Associations in Dundee to discuss collaborative work and we have submitted images for potential inclusion in The Dundee Tapestry which will be completed this year.
We met with new Palestinian Students in Dundee and bid farewell to Mohmad Yacobey as he returned to Nablus on completion of his studies. We hosted a public meeting where Jeff Halper from the Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions put forward his ideas on why a Two State Solution was not viable. This was as part of a speaking tour organised by The Scottish Palestinian Forum.
We are still pursuing contacts between community gardens in Dundee and Nablus. As a result of this, we have built a good relationship with members of Victoria Community Garden and sponsored a successful showing of the film Foragers at the garden in April.
Our participation in the Dundee Women’s Festival is one of the highlights of our year. This year with the support of the DCA, we had a very well-attended showing of the film 3,000 Nights. Viviane Saglier and Malaka Shwaikh participated in an enthralling Q&A after the showing.
We have had Zoom talks from Viviane Saglier on Palestinian film, Bayan Al Hasani on why, as a Palestinian from Gaza, he cannot visit Nablus, Malaka Shwaikh on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and Father Jamil on life as an Episcopalian Priest in Nablus.
We also met with Father Jamil and his wife Loma when they visited St Luke’s in Dundee.
We have had a number of meetings with the Lord Provost and John Alexander and are in discussions about the location of a memorial stone commemorating the twinning and Bassam Shakaa the Mayor of Nablus at the time of the original twinning. This is to be paid for by a donation from Scottish Friends of Palestine.
Members supported a number of events commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Nakba. This included speaking at Dundee’s May Day Rally, a public meeting with Ronnie Barkan and organising and participating in a rally in City Square attended by MSPs and MPs.
Finally, there have been initial talks with the Boulder-Nablus Sister City committee looking at working together on potentially funding a project in Askar Refugee Camp.
The new committee will take forward the priorities identified in this year’s action plan and I am sure it will be another productive year. There is plenty to be done.
On behalf of the committee, I want to thank the Dundee Trades Union Council for its ongoing support in everything we do and particularly to UNITE for the use of their offices.
Thanks too to the Lord Provost, Dundee City Councillors, MSPs and MPs. It is a privilege to be Convenor of this organisation, but it is by no means a one-person show.
The burden of our organisation falls on very few people. So please consider joining the committee and help us with our work. Thank you to all the members of the outgoing committee for the work they have done. It never fails to amaze me just how powerful and effective this dedicated group can be in fulfilling the remit of the twinning association. Their humanitarianism is inspirational.
Committee Members 2022-2023
|Minute Secretary & Event Organiser
|Fiona Dixon (Co-opted)
|Lord Provost (ex officio)
|John Davidson (resigned)
|Convener and Press Officer
|Marysia Kobylaska O’Sullivan
|Sandy Greene (Co-opted)