Saturday, 28 March 2009

This was from Hiba

it was a greaaaaaaaaaaaaaat time
i wish if we can repaly the time ... i will not forget this everrr
nice group
hiba ayyad

From Wasfia

Hi - thank you very much for your nice meeting to us in london .I was very late to write for you but I had a problem in my computer but now it is ok . I received your email and I will be happy to share you this discustion .and this is my report 4 you :

4th march
We reached Heathrow air port at 3 oclock and we met NANDIDTA and other friends
Then we went to London by train
In LONDON we had ameal all of us together then we had taken by friends to see sight in LONDON and we were very happy
5th march
We left London to LIVERPOOL to NAHEDA house .she is PALESTENIAN woman from beet exa
At2.30 we had meeting with many people most of them doctors and we discussed the health essu in BELEN
At 5 oclock we had another meeting with women in the mosque the number were big
6th march
In the morning we visited the children hospital and we had asmall meeting with the stuff
We visited a nursary and we met ladies and teachers and we discussed together about the twining links and about the bad situation in PALESTINE
We went to the green house .its aplace that activities done by children after schools
We left LIVERPOOL to another meeting in MANCHESTER with PAKESTENIAN woman called sahar we had a meal and we met a palestenian woman called MUNA from GAZA and she shared us the meeting and MUNA talked about the bad life in GAZA THEN WE RETURENED BACK TO Liverpool
We went to share people the vigale which they used to do it every saterday
We went to the international woman day and we had ameeting with mixture people ladies and men we discussed many useful issuing palestine especially about palestenian woman
In afternoon we had ameal in aLEBANON restaurant
8th march
We had a meeting in the churche there were a lot of people and they were interesting and interested about what happen in Palestine but we felt sorry because the priest was angry because he did not want us to speak about political issu
At 11 oclock we went to NELSON to the MARDSONcenter and there were a big meeting there (there was a good preparing for meeting)
9th march
We had meeting in boys school
We had another meeting in girls school
We had ameeting in the collage it was mixed students and stuff
10th march
We had 3 meeting in BLACKBURN collage
Ameeting on air in the BBC RADIO LANCASIRE
THE last meeting was in cemene coffe shop then we came back to LONDON again

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

From Ghada

I arrived home safely, thank God, after a wonderful visit to Britain with a wonderful group.
I enjoyed very much the gatherings and meetings with you and the nice places we visited and I enjoyed seeing the important places. In fact you all were very kind, many thanks and appreciation to you and to the team who hosted us. I will be in contact with you and continue the cooperation in the future.

Thank you again and best regards and love to all.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Letters on their way to Brussels

The women's visit letters calling on the EU to enforce the human rights of Palestinians being delivered to Jean Lambert MEP at the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International Station. Jean Lambert will deliver them to Luisa Morgantini.

Hundreds of letters were collected during the women's visit and delivered by the Palestinian women to Frank Dobson MP for delivery to Douglas Alexander, International Development Secretary, calling on the British government to act... (See earlier post.)

The letter can be found at:

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


The visit helped develop twinning further in the Black Country, strengthened it in Walsall, consolidated it across the country....

[quote from Walsall organiser, more to come]

Twinning expands in the Midlands

We had 3 great events in Birmingham and time for a nice meal with women from BRTI and chance to rest. We have so many new activists in Birmingham and the visit really helped to pull in some of the newer people. My branch have passed a motion to send 2 delegates in April. ..

Telford Aboud link is actively being sought and they are hoping to send at least one person in April. Dudley are also keen and will be twinning with Kufer Namaa... They are also hoping to send someone in April ...There is also interest in Coventry and a new group is tentatively forming....

Monday, 16 March 2009


[Again, add to this, please...]

Plenty to feel good about - the latest visit went very well

Tower Hamlets

[These are the only 2 comments so far... you can add more! ;-) ]


Great visit!

Visit tremendous, new atmosphere around issue really evident.

St Albans and Luton

Women's visit went very well in Watford, St Albans and Luton particularly St Albans public meeting of about 45 (new group) and Luton sixth form college - about 40 students. Luton public meeting a bit disappointing in turn out only 25 (was on the same day as soldiers march through Luton) but very positive meeting.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


[Photos: both taken at Alderhey Children's Hospital. The people besides our 2 guests (and John Lennon) are Nahida, our Bil'in group member, Moya Sutton, Executive Nurse, Gina Shaw, senior nurse and member of our Bil'in group, and Richard Brown, Head of Equality and Diversity.]

Visit of Two Palestinian Women to Liverpool: 5-8 March 2009

The eagerly awaited visit of Najat and Wasfia from the West Bank has now come and gone and all those who prepared the visit and met and accompanied the women are left with a really positive sense that we achieved the maximum possible out of the visit and that we are now launched on the path of multiple community involvement that will lead to a significant expansion of the twinning links in a variety of creative ways. This was our primary aim. Another important aim was to maintain and raise our own commitment by allowing our members to hear at first hand about life under occupation and meeting women who told their moving stories. Our third aim was to enable the women to experience directly the support that exists for their cause and the warmth of concerned people here. They need that support very much as it’s easy to feel isolated in their constant daily struggle. We achieved all of these aims.

The women had a fairly punishing schedule, especially on the Friday, and we have identified the lack of relaxation time as the chief fault in the planning. In making a schedule of visits for them we had been guided mainly by what we knew of their professional interests and their programme was as follows:

On Thursday soon after arrival by train from London they met a group of medics in a member’s home, followed by a meeting in the Liverpool Mosque with a large group of Moslem women.
On Friday they spent the morning and had lunch at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where they were shown around and met patients, nursing staff, children and staff in the nursery, a chaplain and several senior members of staff. The afternoon was divided between the Sure Start Children’s Centre in Kensington and the Greenhouse after-school project in Toxteth. They were then whisked over to Manchester where the PSC group wanted to talk about becoming a twinning group themselves. They arrived home shattered at midnight.
On Saturday they joined our monthly vigil on the steps of St. Luke’s where there was an opportunity for individuals to chat with them and where they were interviewed by a reporter from the Liverpool Echo/Post.
At 3pm they led a seminar for International Women’s Day at the celebrations at Liverpool University Student Guild which was followed by a farewell meal at the Sahara Restaurant for members.
On Sunday morning before leaving for the second stage of their journey in Pendle, Lancs., they spoke to a gathering after Mass at St. Helen’s Church in Crosby. A nice touch here was that the priest welcomed them from the pulpit in Arabic.

So what were the new initiatives that came as a result of the visit of the women?

1. The group of doctors is planning to co-operate with the medical department of Bir
Zeit university over the primary healthcare needs of the Bil’in district to
establish where they can have a useful input.
2. Alder Hey Hospital is very keen to take initiatives at all levels and in a variety
of ways. More discussions will take place between senior staff and management.
Initial responses are that the nursery would like to supply toys and equipment to
Najat’s village nursery which has nothing in the way of equipment and not even
enough chairs for all the children. Conversely the hospital would like an input
from us about handling sensitive cultural issues with Moslem families as well as an
input into the arts programmes for the children.
3. Kensington Children’s centre were also keen to develop links with the services for
pre-school children in the Bil’in.
4. The Greenhouse Project gave the women a DVD of their teenage dance group and
we shall ask the national twinning visit going from Britain to Palestine in April if
they will bring back a video of dabka dancing from Bil’in.
5. The Manchester visit resulted in a decision by Manchester PSC group to twin with
the city of Nablus, following the example of Manchester University which is
already linked to An-Najah University in Nablus.
6. Several students at the University of Liverpool want to establish direct email
links with students from Bil’in and a list of email addresses has been sent over to
find individual ‘penpals’.

Please get in touch if you have any more ideas you’d like to pursue – the possibilities are almost endless and the rewards at both ends are great.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Students' college visits - Goldsmith's

Lots of colleges ... Queen Mary, UCL, SOAS, Birkbeck, Newcastle Uni, Nottingham Uni, Liverpool Uni, probably some others. This one was Goldsmith's... Goldsmiths University
Hiba Ayyad and Rawan Amria met a group of students from Goldsmiths University who were planning a visit to Palestine shortly. The meeting took place in the Students Union and was very relaxed with everyone discussing the students' issues in relation to the Israeli occupation and their harrassment and lack of freedom of movement to complete their studies. They were congratulated on their degrees, which had been obtained in such difficult circumstances, and the inspiration their struggle was to us all. Plans were discussed for future solidarity action. Hiba and Rawan were delighted to hear, and congratulated the students, on their successful Occupation of Goldsmiths University and the demands that had been made for Palestinian Scholarships.

The informality of the meeting and the shared interests and ideas for action enabled a friendship to develop between Hiba and Rawan and the Goldsmith students which we all felt was great. They looked forward to meeting up when the Goldsmiths students visit Palestine shortly. Hiba and Rawan expressed a desire for more of this kind of informal "get together" and felt that they had been able to make long term connections quickly in solidarity with their fellows.


The Bristol "Evening News" reported Hiba and Rawan's visit to the City in the following way: "Nearly 400 people turned out to hear vetern MP and former City MP Tony Benn speak at a public meeting on the conflict in Gaza.... The meeting was also addressed by Palestinian speakers from the West Bank. Hiba Ayyad a 20 year old student who described how her mother had been killed when Israeli forces shelled her home last September. Another student Rawan Amria 21 from Bethlehem told the meeting about the effects of the Israeli Occupation. She said that movement of people was so restricted it had made it difficult for her to reach the Palestinian capital Ramalla, where she was eventually able to get a visa to visit Britain."
Earlier a party of Palestinians met councillors and officials at Bristol City Council on College Green, to discuss the possibility of a twinning arrangment between the city and a town or project in Gaza to highlight its plight. Easton Councillor Abdul Malik said he hoped to see cross-party support on the council for this idea."
Hiba and Rawan were also asked to speak live on local Bristol Radio about what the twinning network meant to them and the effects of the Israeli occupation on their lives. They both spoke outlining the themes that they later communicated so effectively at the Stop the War public meeting.
Many people spoke to Hiba and Rawan after the meeting and their interest and questions underlined the impact of having grassroots speakers from Palestine and the enormous effect this has in creating awareness of Human Rights issues in relation to the illegal Israeli occupation but also in developing a "hands on and together" approach to creating change being fostered by the groups within the Britain-Palestine Twinning Network.
Jane Collins, my daughter who organised the Bristol visit together with local activists from Bristol Stop the War and I both felt it was a great honour and privilege to be with such warm, friendly and courageous young people on our visits and we. thank them for the chats, laughs and new info. We look forward to the time when we can renew our friendship in the future. We would like to thank all the people who supported this initiative and are now carrying it forward. solidarity Pauline Collins

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Well we talked a lot about serious aspects of water... the Israelis taking control of the West Bank aquifers, settlers using many times the amount of water than Palestinians, polluted water from settlement effluent.... We talked about how people from a land next to the sea aren't allowed to go to the sea...

But these pictures are from time off... just nice memories...

Last day,,, delivering the letters

All together at the beginning - arriving in London

Next steps in Camden

We had two main Camden days: one was international women’s day at the Calthorpe Project, where there were lots of activities and a meeting about women’s lives in Palestine, as well as a link up to talk to women in Dar Assadaqa, Abu Dis, who were having an international women’s day event at the same time.
The second was a day of visits to some of the Camden universities – UCL, SOAS, Birkbeck. For me, the highpoints of that day were a very constructive discussion with UCL students about ways to move forward with the twinning, which has already started, a visit to Birkbeck where we discussed first steps in twinning with people in the union there and visited a class on international law and human rights where we seem to have made a powerful impression….
Many thanks also to members of Camden Abu Dis women’s links for all their help in Camden and elsewhere throughout the week.

First thoughts from York...

This is just a quickie to say thank you for arranging the visit from Maysaa and Saeda. They made a tremendous impression on everyone. Such lovely women, both of them, and their stories were moving. There is a lot of enthusiasm about now for some sort of twinning....

Cambridge - a great visit

It was good to meet you and your visitors yesterday, we had a great time and I hope you and they did. They had a full schedule and spoke very well at the end of it, I hope they weren't too exhausted. We now have much more of an idea about the operation of the twinning groups, and I am sure will discuss further with our networks in Cambridge. I hope we will be in touch again.

Comments from Newcastle...

[Visit has been wonderful . Now the work has to start]

Hello everyone – hope your tours are going as well as ours did. It was really positive from start to finish. What I need from you, if you can help, is information about how you set up your local groups. Who did you contact, have you got a constitution, how do you raise money and so on.
In Tyneside we are only just beginning but following from our meetings last week we have a lot of interest which we don’t want to waste.
Any help would be very much appreciated – perhaps one day we will meet up

Report from Oxford

Hanan spoke to the Oxford TUC last Thursday; she spoke at a TUC jobs demo on Saturday, her main meeting, was on Sunday Afternoon, where she spoke to 70-80 women, at a meeting organised for her by Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association. She had a great reception. On Monday she spoke at Oxfam, after which she met the mayor of Oxford, Susanna Prestel. This lunchtime she had a meeting organised by UNISON, in the John Radcliffe Hospital, and this evening she is speaking at a Women of the World Unite meeting, which is part of the International Womens festival. So she is making many contacts, and strengthening our work in the Town, and unions.

Really well done again to the Twinning Network.

The main part of the twinning network women's tour came to an end yesterday, and it has been another really amazing success, spreading awareness of the Palestinian issue to thousands of people across the country (thousands is no exaggeration) and involving new places in the idea of twinning.

Once again it has been the result of fantastic co-operation between people in twinning groups new and old, and it is very heartening to work with such great and positive people.

Of course, the women visitors themselves were great and people loved to meet them as people as well as as speakers. (And they were delighted by all sorts of things - as well as surprised by many and not so keen on others...)

These joint visits bring us all closer and push our work so much further too - and I would like to suggest that we have a think about doing the same next year: specifically, a twinning network visit in November at the time of the conference, and a women's one in March. We'll have to formally decide that at our next meeting, but from discussions today, several people, representing different groups, have started to think about this already - So please have a word with other people in your group and keep an eye out for the next meeting... (Can't remember when it is, very tired now, more on that soon) ... or send in your comments.

People's evaluations are coming in from all over the place - thank you! Do send in your comments of any sort, please

And people who were involved in it... before you forget... something for this blog please... and photos....

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


So great to meet you all.. Maysaa, Ghada, Nagham, Najat, Sirien, Hiba, Rawan, Saeda, Wasfia, Zahida and Hanan

Ehlan w sahlan ilkum kulkum...
Lovely to meet you at Heathrow, travel back on the tube, have a great meal at Marchmont Street, and see you all go off on a tour of London before (I imagine) collapsing TIRED...

Hope you had a good time on the tour and hope you have a great time in the next week or so. And do put some pictures here if you can find time.... Nandita