Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya – Bulletin 8 Autumn 2013


Summer is festival season and we had our usual two stalls at the Hanwell Carnival and the Brentford Festival. Sale of cupcakes and olive oil was brisk!
Our Abu Santa Grotto on the 1st of December was very well attended. A jolly time was had by all, there were cakes galore, lots of bargains to be had, and it raised £345.
We have developed links with our neighbours, Hounslow Ramallah Twinning Association, who shared the Brentford stall with us and whom we supported in their successful event “Football and Falafels”. Mark Devlin, CEO of Brentford FC attended briefly and assured us of his support for any future projects we may develop with our twin towns.
News from Sabastiya
We are delighted to report that our man in Sabastiya, Abu Yasser, was invited to give a talk via Skype to students and professors at Harvard University College of Theology about his organisation of and participation in the village successful non-violent protest against the neighbouring Israeli settlement. His talk was very well received and the College intends to remain in contact and support Sabastiya.
Projects Update
Abu Yasser and the guest house goodies
500 Olive Trees project
We are pleased to report that after a very long and hot summer in the West Bank, the vast majority of our saplings are thriving. Water is very scarce and costly there, so we had to finance the hiring of a water tank to go round all the orchards and water the trees in order to ensure their survival.
Al Kayed Palace Guest House
This community-owned guest house is now up and running and had its first group of guests this autumn – the annual Zaytoun Harvest Tour, guided by our current Chair (Andree). Feedback was excellent and we look forward to staying there during our forthcoming HAFSA spring tour. HAFSA has supported the development of the guest house from its inception and recently helped finance additional equipment (see photo).
Twinning conference
Several HAFSA members attended the Britain Palestine Twinning and Friendship Network conference in Northampton in November. Both Andree and Jean were re-elected to the committee. It was decided at the conference to launch a visa campaign in the UK to draw attention to the discrimination that Palestinians experience when applying to enter the UK, whereas Israelis come and go as they please without the need for a visa. We will keep you informed regarding any action required.
volunteers packing ramadan parcels july 13
Ramadan parcels
We were asked to help the poorest families in Sabastiya during Ramadan. Your response has been most generous and we were able to provide enough basic foodstuffs eg: oil,  sugar, flour… for 60 families at £25 each for the entire month of Ramadan.  Young volunteers from the village were involved in making up and delivering the parcels. Abu Yasser (our rep in Sabastiya) said: “This has been a good community initiative and has taught us a lot about our village.” So many thanks to all who made this possible (see photo).
Visit Palestine
We hope to run another spring tour in 2014, dates have yet to be confirmed. If you are interested in going, please email Andree:moc.o1582300627ohay@1582300627eltru1582300627ttrop1582300627yat1582300627
HAFSA is online!
We now have a Facebook group – you can join at:
Visit our website: http://hafsa.org.uk/
Future events
Saturday 18th January 3pm-6pm
St Thomas’s Church Hall, 182 Boston Road W7(next to Elthorne Park)
We will show a short film about Sabastiya’s successful non-violent campaign against the local illegal Israeli Jewish settlement that was discharging sewage onto Sabastiya’s farmlands.
The AGM will be followed by entertainment and refreshments, more details will be advised nearer the date. Please make every effort to attend; it will be an interesting afternoon.
Film Night: We are planning a film night in March 2014
The Cooperative Bank, Ealing Branch
Sort code: 08 92 99
Account number: 65449004



The committee wishes you all a peaceful 2014
sabastiya mosque
Sabastiya Crusader’s Church and Mosque

Twinning network Conference in Al Bireh, Palestine 4th May 2013

Twinning network Conference in Al Bireh, Palestine 4th May 2013

Report by Andree Ryan (Chair of the Britain Palestine Twinning Network)

This is as accurate as possible; apologies if I forgot anyone or anything (please let me know)


About 45 people gathered in the Al Bireh Municipality to attend the above.

Al Bireh is just on the outskirts of Ramallah and the Mayor kindly offered the venue for this year’s conference.


There were 19 Palestinian groups represented:


Al Bireh  (Northampton)

Abu Dis   (Camden)

Arura (Faringdon)

Assawiya (Llandiloes)

Azzoun (Knighton)

Bili’n (Liverpool)

Beit Leed (Pendle)

Batir (Luton)

Jenin (Tower Hamlet, London)

Kobar (Walsall)

Husan (St Albans)

Nablus (Dundee)

Oxford (Brimingham)

Ramallah (Oxford)

Ramallah (Birmingham)

Sabastiya (Hanwell, West London)

Salfeet (Watford)

Yanoun (international Network)

Yatma (Hastings)


Unfortunately not many of their UK counterparts attended as the conference date was announced at a short notice. Delegates from Hanwell, Watford, Oxford, Yanoun International Network, and Hastings were present as well as young volunteers from CADFA.

Three members of the UK committee: Andree Ryan, Chair, Jean Fitzpatrick, Treasurer and Gill Knight, Secretary, were also present


The conference was opened by Mohammad Aruri, Chair of the Palestinian Network, who welcomed everyone and introduced the formal speakers. Below I have resumed the speeches:


1)    The mayor of Al Bireh, Mr Fawzi spoke briefly:  he expressed the hope that all these twinning and friendship links will put pressure on the UK politicians to push for a Palestinian State. The main aim of twinning is not to provide resources but to help us achieve this goal


2)    The Chair of the Britain Palestine twinning Network, Andree Ryan: she spoke in Arabic and thanked Nandita the outgoing chair for creating this network; she also thanked the Al Bireh Municipality and all those who came from all over the West Bank. She listed all the 27 members of the network. She clarified the difference between official twinning and friendship links; most members belong to the latest category and are very active. She listed the three main aims of the UK network for this year:

  • Develop the network with new links; each group can start another one nearby.
  • Improve communications between our two committees and between our twins, we hope that both committees will help each other in sorting out failing communications.
  •  Cooperation:  between twins, the stronger ones helping the weaker ones in the same region and the development of joint initiatives regionally or nationally


3)    Youssef Awad, secretary of the Palestinian Network: he thanked the Al Bireh Municipality and the attendees. The main goal of a friendship link is human relations that will help develop awareness among British people. Awareness at different levels: social, economical and political. Twinning work transcends factionalism and creates unity. He would like to see twins publish their activities in a monthly newsletter, a better website, the network to have an official status (registered charity), better communication all round and Palestinians meeting during the year and not just at the conference. Finally he asks all of us to develop different campaigns to support Palestine (eg prisoners)


4)    Gill Knight Secretary of the UK Network: Twinning gives a positive message about Palestine. Friendship breaks barriers and promotes understanding, all this takes effort and time, and we have to raise our profile here and in the UK. 3 main points: team work, better communication, strong active committees. Finally she read a support message from Liverpool.


The Governor of Al Bireh and the British Consul were invited but could not make it


The floor was then open to all groups to talk about what they have been doing. The activities ranged from supporting local non violent actions to sending volunteer teachers, experts and students, building classrooms, campaign on issues in the UK, visits, planting trees, helping in the harvest, importing goods, developing tourism by bringing groups, dialogues between schools, women visits, advocacy in UK….


After a light lunch we were split in three groups to discuss three topics, feedback is below


  • The aims of twinning:

1)    Create awareness and understanding in UK to support Palestinian rights by reaching all the British communities through developing friendship and human relations outside politics.

2)     Friendship is a key word. We must involve as many people as possible.

3)    Put pressure on UK government

4)    Develop tourism, tours must be educational

5)    Any project must be of development

6)    Focus more on schools and universities to put the Palestine issue on the map


  • How to make the links active:


  1. Establishing a web page for the network in which all news of the twinning groups can publish their activities
  2. Organising other committee which can specialise in a specific responsibility inside the network e.g sports, environment issues
  3. Organising training building capacity workshops for members of the network
  4. Visits between the UK and Palestine so that they can share experiences and build the relationship, organise trips etc
  5. Organise an annual summer camp for Palestine and the UK
  6. Organise an annual mutual sport activity eg football match between UK and Palestinians teams



  • Action plan

This group felt they could not put together an action plan without knowing the aims/priorities of the twinning network. Any action plan (for ideas/projects) needs people to be actively involved. Talking is helpful but needs to lead somewhere. The new committee should identify

a) What are their priorities?

b) Who will take each idea forward?, how? and by when?

c) Progress needs to be monitored and followed … and not just left to chance, or to some other meeting.

d) Individuals need to step forward and volunteer to take on tasks.

They felt strongly that the network needs urgently a good website and two people volunteered to take this forward: Arafat Abu Rass and Mohammed Hanini

We discussed the possibility of having one website for the two networks (UK and Palestine)


Finally a new committee was chosen:


Marwan Weshahee from Jenin

Youssef Awad from Jenin

Ahmad Kayed from Sabastiya

Arafat Abu Ras from Assawiya

Mohamad Aruri from Ramallah

Shada Zaydiyeh from Salfeet

Fateeyeh from Abu Dis

Group Photo!

Group Photo!

Hanwell Friends of Sebastiya – Bulletin 7 Summer 2013

Winter was eventful for the people of Sabastiya. They had to pull together and, with our support, build a campaign to stop the neighbouring illegal Israeli settlement of Shaveh Shomron from discharging its sewage onto Sabastiya’s farm land.  A campaign that was successful, today the land is back to normal. Come and hear all about it at our summer social 29th June (see below).


News from Sabastiya – Spring Tour

Eight of us joined the third HAFSA tour to the West Bank. We spent four nights in Sabastiya and as usual the hospitality was overwhelming. Much time was spent in the central café, sipping mint tea under pine trees. A circular café that was built by the British! And a strategic place to meet and greet all of Sabastiya. You can see photos on our website http://hafsa.org.uk/ and read Gillian’s thoughts at the end of this bulletin


Projects Update

500 olive trees project: We saw some of the 500 trees that we bought, they are still small, but growing at a healthy pace! Planting olive saplings is vital in this area; already 2,500 olive trees have been uprooted by settlers in the first 10 days of June in the Nablus Governorate, which is where Sabastiya is. Since 1967, 800,000 trees were destroyed

Al Kayed Palace Guest House:





We met with the Sabastiya Women Association that run this palace and we got to know them better. We heard of all the good work they do in the community and beyond: vocational classes for women and the young, educational classes, a shop that sells local goods and craft. We brought some produce back for you to buy; this will be on sale at the Hanwell Carnival and the social. We gave them £1000 to buy eight beds and bedding for their guest house project. It will open this summer and accommodate 18 guests. We hope to use it for our next tour. The guest house is already providing work for the locals; women are making quilts and curtains and all other items to decorate the room in true Palestinian style   One room will be named HAFSA!

Jean ran “English to help you run the guesthouse and shop” with the women (photo)






Thank you to all that contributed to these two projects.


Sabastiya’s Mayor We met with Dr Nael Shaer, a dentist by profession, and a dedicated Mayor. He thanked us for our help in their campaign against the settlement and for the strong friendship link we have created with his village. One message he has for us?  Tell the people of Britain that Palestinians are not terrorists but a people, like most people, longing for peace.


Twinning conference: Andree (Chair of HAFSA and of the Britain Palestine Twinning Network-BPTN) and jean (Vice Chair of HAFSA and Treasurer of the BPTN) attended this conference in Al Bireh together with Abu Yasser and a member of the Sabastiya Municipality. 50 people attended and there were 17 delegates representing their friendship links with the UK. You can read the report on our website. Abu Yasser is now on the committee of the Palestinian Twinning Network and we hope that we will strengthen the friendship links between the UK and Palestinians and forward joint projects and visits.


Visit Palestine: We hope to run another spring tour next year, meanwhile if you want to go this autumn, Zaytoun runs a tour and Andree is the guide, email me if you want more details or go to www.zaytoun.org


We now have a face book group:




Future events:


Two HAFSA events coming your way!  Please advertise far and wide!


Hanwell Carnival: Saturday 15th June, Elthorne Park, Boston Road, W7


We will have stall to promote ourselves and sell Palestinian produce. We will also sell homemade cup cakes, interesting books, and good bric a brac; If you have any of those please bring on the day or take to Lynn: 54 Windermere Road W13, mobile: 0784 0400 429


We will be setting up at 10am and stay until around 5pm

If you can help just turn up, but turn up anyway to visit our stall!


Summer Social: Saturday 29th June, 7pm, at 109 Southdown Avenue W7 2AE- £10 at the door

This is our annual fund raising social event


Food, wine, beer, entertainment and raffle, the party starts at 7pm but for those who are interested, an illustrated talk by Colin entitled: SABASTIYA a SUCCESSFUL PROTEST will be delivered at 6pm, before the party.


Please bring friends and family, phone/text Jean on 07739 429 754 so that we have an idea of numbers for catering purpose


And finally

Brentford Festival Sunday 1st September we will have a stall there, more details later, it will be in Blondin Park



Membership Subs

We usually ask you to renew your £ 5 membership at the AGM. If you have joined at the end of 2012 you do not need to pay again.  If you have not renewed yet, please send a £5 cheque made to HAFSA and send it to: HAFSA Treasurer 9 Cardiff Road, Hanwell London W7 2BW or you can pay by bank transfer, thank you.


The Cooperative Bank, Ealing Branch

Sort code: 08 92 99

Account number: 65449004



Andree Ryan (Chair) moc.o1582300627ohay@1582300627elrut1582300627tropy1582300627at1582300627, 0776 1104 609

Jean Fitzpatrick (vice chair) ku.oc1582300627.liam1582300627toh@n1582300627irrep1582300627ztifn1582300627aej1582300627, 0773 942 9754

Marjorie Kelly (secretary) ku.oc1582300627.ooha1582300627y@605158230062713yll1582300627ekjm1582300627



Gillian’s thoughts


Palestine has been in my consciousness since I was a teenager (I’m now 67) and learned of the inequity of the consequences of the Balfour Declaration. I joined the HAFSA tour this spring.


Passport control was not as bad as I had feared.  I didn’t have to lie about anything (much).  The land itself was as I imagined but the first reminder of what has occurred on it came immediately we left the airport – the partial wrecks of several aeroplanes.


We went on an ICAD tour (Israeli committee Against House Demolition): our guide, a young Israeli woman originally from the UK (mother Israeli Jew, father non-Jewish British) who was brought to Israel as a teenager, was passionate and intelligent, putting much of her energy into fighting for the rights of Palestinians.  She showed us a Palestinian home demolished by the Israeli government and told us that government expect the family to pay for clearing the wreckage of their own home.  She showed us the immaculate, lush and plant-filled settlements in which the Israelis live that exude a sense of pristine unreality, settlements, which contrast so vividly with the towns and villages of the Palestinians that are mainly run-down and neglected and have little greenery.


Yussef who lives in Burkin, a village near Jenin, took us to his office to explain his work with the Jenin Cultural Centre, and to his home to meet his wife and three children. I have never met anyone with a face so haunted as Yussef.  Jenin suffered intensive bombing by Israel in 2002. In all the hours we spent with him, there were only rare moments when Yussef’s face relaxed. I bought and began reading the book “Mornings in Jenin” but it remains unfinished because I knew I couldn’t bear to read of the suffering it contains.


The time we spent visiting Wi’am (a peace and reconciliation centre, www.alaslah.org) in Bethlehem typifies the contrasts and courage one sees and experiences in Palestine. The warmth and human understanding of Zoughbi and Usama who have created a peaceful garden in which we sat listening to them talk about their work helping resolve conflicts. A garden, that is literally in the shadow of a hideous wall, the ultimate symbol of the inhumanity of the Zionists.


Abu Yasser, our HAFSA man on the ground, and his delightful family.  With two disabled sons, how does he find the time and the energy – physical and emotional – to work to improve the lives of the people of Sabastiya?  What leadership and courage and intelligence he showed in organising a peaceful protest against the occupiers of a nearby illegal settlement who were discharging sewage and chemicals onto the land belonging to a local farmer.


Then there was the young man in Hebron who identified himself as an official guide and insisted on giving us a political tour of his town, detailing the ghastly conditions under which they live.  He brooked no discussion.  He was like a robot with a single tape that played over and over for the few visitors.  It seemed to me that he was managing to maintain some semblance of sanity by putting an energy that he should be spending playing football, lazing around, flirting, and just enjoying life into ensuring that overseas visitors know what it is to live in Hebron, a town that caused a feeling of unease, a town it was necessary to visit but which I was keen to leave.  And I could leave but he could not.


In this land that has suffered, and continues to suffer so much, it was with a sort of guilty relief that one found pockets of wonderful peace – the garden of the Augusta Victoria Guest House where we stayed in Jerusalem; the village of Sabastiya and the surrounding area; a delightful few hours in the company of a farmer and his family, sitting on the terrace of their home with the sunshine dappling through the fruit trees enjoying homemade cakes and the fresh lemonade made from their own lemon trees. It was lovely to watch the love between the farmer’s wife and her granddaughter.


I have no particular desire to visit America (apart from the wilderness areas) but I feel that I should since that country holds such power over much of the world.  I would encourage people to visit Palestine to see first-hand the consequences of failure of action by America but also to enjoy the countryside and the wildlife, the architecture and the archaeology (particularly, of course, the extensive Roman remains in Sabastiya), and to be reminded that, as the Mayor of Sabastiya told us, “We are people like you.”  Last year at The Globe a Palestinian production of Richard II was followed by a Q&A session with the actors and directors.  They were overwhelmed to have been invited to the UK, to have been remembered, to have been thought worthy.  Go and meet these people in their land – they will warm you with their friendliness and hospitality and inspire you with their courage.


Sebastiya's - town centre Cafe

Sebastiya’s – town centre Cafe

HAFSA Bulletin #6


January 12th saw Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya’s second AGM and third birthday. 30 people braved the snow to attend and were treated to a scrumptious high tea and birthday cake.

Unfortunately we were missing Abu Yasser, our representative in Sabastiya, because our government refused to give him a visa (we were however able to include him via Skype). We think this is very unfair and that there is an apartheid system in place here: Israeli citizens can come and go as they please and are not required to apply for a visa. Palestinians have to fill in a huge application form that includes very personal questions. Then, they have to travel to Ramallah to have their finger prints taken, like criminals, and then wait for at least 4 weeks before hearing the good, or bad news, as in our case. The reasons given for the refusal were that he does not have a bank account and that HAFSA did not guarantee to cover all his expenses while in the UK, which is totally untrue as we did say we would in our invitation letter. We are now looking at involving MPs on this issue.

News from Sabastiya

The good news is that 400 of the trees we bought have been planted, 100 remain to go in soon.The bad news is that since Christmas the illegal neighbouring Jewish settlement of Shave Shomron is discharging their sewage onto Sabastiya farm land. We hear that the stench is unbearable and the sewage is flowing like a river through the land. Many of us have written to our MPs, the British Consulate was alerted as well as many NGOs, the Palestinian Authority protested to the Israelis who said more than once that they will stop it. Yet nothing changed and the sewage keeps pouring.

We now have a facebook group:

You can join it to get updates. Below is a link to a short video that Abu Yasser posted on our facebook page. It concerns another village near Sabastiya that also suffers from the presence of the Shave Shomron settlement :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6wE0i7dpCI

Visit to Sabastiya and tour of the West Bank

The people of Sabastiya are looking forward to hosting us this spring. We are running this, our fourth tour, from 29th April until 9th May 2013. We will visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Hebron, Nablus and of course Sabastiya where we will stay 4 nights in the magnificent guest house. It is not too late to join us. If you are interested e mail me, Andree : *protected email*

Membership Subs

We usually ask you to renew your £ 5 membership at the AGM. If you have joined at the end of 2012 you do not need to pay again. If you have not renewed yet, please send a £5 cheque made to HAFSA and send it to: HAFSA Treasurer 9 Cardiff Road, Hanwell London W7 2BW or you can pay by bank transfer, thank you.

The Cooperative Bank, Ealing Branch
Sort code: 08 92 99
Account number: 65449004

Guest house project

A decision we took at the AGM was to consider supporting the Arab Women’s League of Sabastiya by furnishing 6 bedrooms in the renovated Al Kayed Palace (old Ottoman palace). They wish to run a guest house there and will give any HAFSA members that visit a discount. The cost of this project will be around £4,000. We insisted that the beds should be bought or made locally as well as the bedding etc. We would welcome donations towards this project, again please send cheques to the address above or by bank transfer. We will organise some fund raising events too.

Events & Get in Touch

Don’t forget you can see upcoming events on our calendar and we always welcome you to get in touch or get involved!

HAFSA Bulletin #5


Hope you all had a good summer.
There hasn’t been a bulletin for a while, but we have not been idle. Thank you to all those who have helped out or attended our events.
We had a social at Elsa and Laura’s house, a stall at the Hanwell carnival; we showed two films and a performance by the Ecumenical Accompanier to Palestine and Israel, we had Jean as a volunteer teacher in Sabastiya for 6 weeks.
All in all Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya now has 88 members and £1588 in the bank

Where do we go from here?

Trees for Sabastiya: We are aiming for at least 500.
Autumn is tree planting season in Palestine and you should have already received the appeal to donate olive trees for Sabastiya’s poor families. Here it is again below. Many thanks to all those who have already sent donations. We now have a total of 220 trees. The charity: Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas (FONSA) has given us 100 trees, likewise another generous supporter has given us money for a further 100.  We are very grateful to everyone who has donated so far.
Keep it coming!

Fund Raising

We desperately need to have a fund raising startegy. Is anyone out there interested in helping? Forming a small committee that would concentrate on this would be very helpful. Get in touch if you are willing.

Future events

Here are some dates for your diary. Details will be sent nearer the dates.
Saturday 17th November 2012: Hafsa social evening.
Saturday 13th January 2013, afternoon:  it is Annual General Meeting time! Details will follow. We hope to have Abu Yasser, our coordinator in Sabastiya, to come over and meet you all.
Friday 8 March 2013: for International Women Day we are planning to show a film, this is open to all, not only women.
May /June: visit to Sabastiya, exact dates to be finalised very soon
You are welcome to attend any committee meeting; the next one will be on
Monday 12th November, 7.30pm

HAFSA Bulletin #3

Successful June Events

Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya had two very successful events in June.

Hanwell Carnival – Our stall at the Hanwell Carnival generated loads of interest. Palestinian Fair Traded produce and craft were sold as well as a hundred cup cakes of all colours, they even made it in the Ealing Gazette, so beautiful were they….. Unfortunately the reporter did not mention who we were! Thank you to all who baked them and to all who helped on the day. We gained a few more members too.

Our “Palestinian Spring” evening on 25th June was very well attended. We heard from Jean about her 4 months experience in Nablus and she showed us, with lots of pictures and stories, what life is like over there and how we are, after all, so similar, except that here we don’t live under a military occupation. The food as always was delicious. A big thank you to the catering team and everyone else that helped on the night. This soiree raised £500 some of which we will put to use this autumn by sending Alphonse to do some coaching for the Sabastiya football team and the school kids.

If you would like to do any voluntary work in Nablus and surrounds (Sabastiya is part of the Nablus Governorate) we have contacts. Get in touch with us.

If you missed Jean’s slide show on 25th! Then, she is happy to do a repeat. If you belong to any other groups who would like a fundraising showing, just let us know.

What is happening next?

 Visit from Sabastiya young people: A group of 7 young people (aged 17 – 21) from Sabastiya will be coming to Hanwell on the 29th July. They have been invited by the Ealing Woodcraft Folk to participate in their International summer camp in the Sherwood Forest. Hafsa has contributed £500 towards the cost of this project and we are looking forward to meeting them. They will be hosted by the Mayor in the Town Hall on 10 August. And you can meet them at the Jazz Festival on 29th July. We intend to be there for 3.45pm to listen to Keith Waithe. Bassam Mahfouz (Ealing Councillor) has arranged guest passes with the Jazz Festival organisers and will be there to greet them. They will get a personal guided tour of the site from the organiser Nick Buckley and may get a chance to meet performers back stage! We are very grateful to Bassam and Nick for this welcome.

The group will then go to the Woodcraft camp and are back in Hanwell for a few days on the 9th August. Hafsa will organise a farewell get together on the 13th August, we will send details at a later date but keep this evening free!

Brentford Festival Sunday 4th September: we have booked a stall at this festival in Boston Manor Park. More details later.

Sabastiya trip: A group of 15 people will be visiting Sabastiya this autumn. We hope to run another tour in spring.

Other regular HAFSA events: starting in the autumn, we hope to develop a programme of regular events – monthly or 6-weekly. Ideas so far are films, topical discussions, and art presentations. ALL IDEAS WELCOME. Let us have yours.

Twinning Network Conference in Liverpool 27th November: if you are interested in attending let us know. See website: www.twinningwithpalestine.net

AGM: we will be holding our first AGM in December. Details at a later date

HAFSA committee meeting: any members are welcome to attend our HAFSA committee meetings. Next meeting is on Thursday 15th September, 7.30pm at 109 Southdown Avenue, Hanwell.

If you would like to receive the minutes please let Andree know (contact details at the end)

By now, you should have received a few samples of our new leaflet; please pass them on for others to join.

HAFSA Bulletin #2


We would like to welcome any of our members to our HAFSA committee which meets every two months. Next meeting is on Thursday 16th June, 7.30pm. If you would like to receive the minutes or attend any of our meetings please get in touch (contact details at the end)
By now, you should have received a few samples of our new leaflet; please pass them on for others to join.
We have 4 main events coming up (see below) that we hope you can support and invite friends.

Forthcoming events

Hanwell Carnival Saturday 18th June: we will have a stall with a display to publicise HAFSA. Come and see us/help out, we will set up from 10am at Elthorne Park (Boston Road W7). We will sell Fair Traded Palestinian produce and home made cakes to fund raise. Will you make us some cakes

Palestinian Spring? Saturday 25th June 7.30pm at HIGH 5 EVERSHED CLUB: a social/fund raising evening with a report back from our members who have just returned from Palestine, a short film and a Middle Eastern buffet. It costs £10 and there will be a paying bar in the club.

Autumn trip to Sabastiya and Palestine: the tour will start on 10th Nov. and finish 18th Nov. 2011. Costs approx: £700 to £1,000, includes flights. We will start in Jerusalem and visit Bethlehem, Nablus, possibly Hebron and of course Sabastiya. For more details phone Andree 07761104609 or email her at: *protected email*

Brentford Festival Sunday 4th September: we have booked a stall at this festival in Boston Manor Park. More details later.

Projects in the pipeline

Football coaching: They are very keen on football in Sabastiya and have asked if we could arrange for a visiting coach to go and stay for a few weeks. We can now offer them a coach (newly qualified but enthusiastic young man: Alphonse Ryan). We will need to subsidise his trip and our event on the 25th June (see above) will be to raise funds for this.

Woodcraft Folk International Camp in Sherwood Forest
The Ealing branch of the Woodcraft Folk (a children’s and youth organisation) has invited 7 young people from Sabastiya to attend their international camp in August. Woodcraft members have been seriously fund-raising to pay their fares, camp fees and host them in Hanwell for a few days before and after the camp. HAFSA has pledged to help by participating in their hosting and providing some financial contribution (£500) towards their stay. We will send more information nearer the date.

A library
We are going to set up our own library of books and films about Palestine for our members to borrow. This is still in progress.


HAFSA Bulletin #1


Our committee meets every two months, if you would like to receive the minutes of the meetings or attend any of our meetings please get in touch.
We have put the finishing touches to our new leaflet, which will be A4 double sided and in colour. We will distribute copies as soon as they are printed.

Jean in Nablus

One of our members, Jean Fitzpatrick, has gone to teach for 4 months in the Nablus University of Al Najah. Sabastiya of course is only a 20 minute drive from Nablus and Jean has been visiting weekly. She is holding English conversation classes with the young people there, including those who are coming over this summer (see below). Jean has a blog and you can read her entries at:  jeanpal.over-blog.com 
Two of our committee members, Cathie Bjarnason and Marjorie Kelly are planning to visit Jean this April and spend some time in Sabastiya.

Projects in the pipe line

Internet connection for Sabastiya schools: This is a request that came from the Sabastiya girls’ and boys’ school and we are investigating the possibility of helping in a sustainable way. There is no point paying for a connection (around £800) that the school cannot then maintain. On this project we may possibly get match-funding from the charity  “Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas” (FONSA www.fonsa.org.uk )
Football coaching: They are very keen on football in Sabastiya and have asked if we could arrange for a visiting coach to go and stay for a few weeks.   The coach will be hosted by the locals; but we would have to find his/her plane fare. If you know of any volunteers, let us know
Woodcraft Folk International Camp in Sherwood Forest
The Ealing branch of the Woodcraft Folk (a children’s and youth organisation) has invited 7 young people from Sabastiya to attend this camp in August. Woodcraft members have been seriously fund-raising as we have to pay their fares, their camp fees and host them in Hanwell for a few days before and after the camp. HAFSA has pledged to help by participating in their hosting and providing some financial contribution (£500) towards their stay. The dates are: 28th July (very late at night) until 30th July and then 9th to 14th August. A social evening will be organised for them. We will send more information nearer the date. Meanwhile, the Woodcraft Folk have made a 20 minutes film about Hanwell which Cathie and Marjorie will show in Sabastiya when they visit this April.
Developing friendship links
Linking people and organisations is a good way of getting our two communities to get to know each other. If you know of a school, church, women’s association etc…. that would like to link up with a similar one in Sabastiya, please let us know. Lots of interesting activities and can develop with such links
Borough involvement
There are not many examples of official twinnings between towns in the UK and Palestine. As far as we know there are two: Dundee and Nablus and recently Hounslow and Ramallah. On the other hand there are many friendship links developing all over. Such as Watford/Salfit, Camden/Abu Dis, Hasting/Yatma etc… In fact, there are more than 30 friendship links already created. We thin this is a good approach.
The Palestine Twinning Network (http://www.twinningwithpalestine.net/index.html)  is a forum through which events can be organised and publicised.
Three of our committee members have met with Ealing councillor Bassam Mahfouz who is very keen to support our work. He will organise for the young visitors to have a tour of the Town Hall this summer. We hope to maintain a healthy relationship with the Borough.
A library
We are going to set up our own library of books and films about Palestine for our members to borrow.

Forthcoming events

Monday April 4th: 7pm, 109 Southdown Avenue, Hanwell is our next committee meeting.
Monday April 11th: 7.30pm: an informal talk on Zionism by Martin who attended a series of lectures at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He will give a brief introduction then we will have an informal discussion, all in a calm friendly atmosphere. Please phone Martin on 0208 567 5613 if you wish to come so we  have an idea of numbers.
Saturday June 18th: we will have a stall at the Hanwell carnival and will probably need help.
Sunday August 28th: Sabastiya young people arrive in Hanwell for the Woodcraft International Camp.  Programme to follow.
Autumn visit: we are envisaging running a tour this autumn (mid-October). It would last 7 to 10 days, start in Jerusalem and visit Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and staying a few days in Sabastiya. The itinerary to be decided by the participants, Andree will organise bookings and local guides. If you are interested please email her at:  *protected email*
Cost would be around £800-£1,000 depending on what we do and where we stay.