Group photo with scottish flag

DNTA members visit Nablus – November 2022


Nine members of DNTA and five Dundee trades unionists visited Nablus in November 2022. The visit was almost cancelled because Israeli military activity in and around Nablus in the preceding weeks had included a siege of Nablus and killings.

Fortunately, the situation calmed just before we arrived and we had a peaceful and pleasant time. However, there were gunshots in the evening and sometimes quite loud sound bombs echoing around the city.

DNTA delegation

Twinning is about friendship and understanding so the delegation met people who could help us to understand life for those who live in Nablus.

We were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor, Dr Husam Shakshir. The Mayor was out of the country during our visit.

Inscribed plaque

Memorial for Ernie Ross MP

Ernie Ross supported Palestine throughout his time as an MP and beyond. We planted a tree in his memory. Read more

Councillor Pete Shears

We were particularly pleased that Pete Shears was part of the DTUC delegation. Although he came primarily as a representative of the Communications Workers Union, he is also a Dundee City Councillor – for Ward 8 – The Ferry.

As far as we know, he is the first councillor to visit Nablus in 40 years after the then Lord Provost Jim Gowans visited Nablus in 1981 to sign the twinning agreement.

He was able to meet the Deputy Mayor and address the assembled delegations from Nablus and Dundee.

DTUC delegation

Five members of the Dundee Trades Union Council (DTUC) also visited the city. They worked with the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) to sign a historic agreement with them to promote areas of mutual co-operation.

We visited the Nablus Fire Department together and re-connected with the fire engine sent by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to Nablus in 2011.

New fire engine

Jim Malone, of the FBU, announced that a further fire engine had been procured and would be delivered to Nablus next year. This prompted many questions about it from the local firefighters – several of whom have been to Dundee and Scotland for training organised by the FBU.

The new appliance has specific first response capabilities. It has a comprehensive array of equipment to deal with many alerts including car collisions as well as fires.

Partner organisations

DNTA and its members have contributed funds to enable over 1,000 trees to be planted this year. This has been organised by FONSA – a registered Scottish charity.

In turn, FONSA works with its partner in Nablus – Shahid (the Witness Centre). They made us welcome in their offices where they explained their work.

Then they took us, with several of their volunteers, to Deir Sharaf village where some of our trees had been planted.

And on to Sabastiya village where we planted some of our olive trees. Sabastiya has many prominent and impressive Roman remains including a colonnade and an amphitheatre. But we had insufficient time to explore these. We need a further visit!

DNTA also contributed to the development of a Garden of Unity in Nablus. This was again co-ordinated with FONSA and the SEEDS organisation in Nablus.

The garden is in the grounds of a Samaritan synagogue which is not much used now that the Samaritan community has moved to a new village on the southern edge of Nablus.