FONSA logo

Friends of Nablus
and Surrounding Areas


Welcome to this first newsletter of 2010

June 2009

FONSA is a young charity but in 2009 we made substantial achievements and have received many thanks from the people of Palestine who have benefitted from our activities. Thanks to your donations we have planted hundreds of trees, supported students and begun a new campaign to help villages which are short of water. We have inspired a report on the BBC about olive trees and settlements.

Two FONSA trustees recently visited Nablus and will report back in the next newsletter.

 Newsletter 3 on our website.

Recent Activities

10,000 Trees for Nablus- Plant Their Future

March 2010

We have been amazed by the response to this campaign to plant olive and fruit trees in vulnerable areas. It has captured everybody's imagination.

To date we have planted over 1,600 trees (360 fruit trees and 1240 olive trees) in the villages of Yanoun, Khirbet Tana, Twayel, Burin, Qusin, Deir Sharaf and Smeet.

Photo of a tree being planted by a young Palestinian boy

A planting involves a lot of coordination. Villagers, school children, young people, charity workers and international peace workers have been involved.

We thank our partners in Nablus who have helped implement the project on the ground: Al Hayat Centre for Civil Society Development and NDTA (Nablus-Dundee Twinning Association). They buy the trees and make sure they are transported to the designated areas together with the volunteers and tools.

Plant their future - give a Tree anytime

April 2010

Trees make good gifts at any time of year so we are offering gift certificates for: birthdays, anniversaries, retirement or any other occasion.

Small picture of a FONSA gift certificate for Olive Trees You can order yours by email at or phone Jean on 07739 429 754.

Olive trees are £4 each and Fruit trees £2. Please add £1 for each gift certificate you need and let us know how many trees on each certificate. Because these are donations, they are all valid for gift aid (subject to minimum of 1 olive tree or 2 fruit trees), We can give you as many certificates as you need.

FONSA on the BBC

February 2010
Picture of an old radio set Our Christmas Gift Certificates inspired a feature broadcast on several BBC programmes including The Today Programme on 19th February 2010.

A BBC reporter heard of people giving olive trees as Christmas presents and asked if she could see the trees in the ground. We arranged for her to see a batch of trees being planted in the village of Deir Sharaf. Her report brilliantly captured the difficulties faced by the Palestinians. Olive trees are their livelihood yet land is scarce and, while she was there, soldiers prevented villagers from accessing some of their lands.

BBC Tree O'Clock Event

March 2010
BBC Tree O Clock logo Also as part of our tree planting campaign we participated in the BBC Tree O'Clock tree day on the 2nd December 2009. This was an attempt to set a world record for the number of trees planted in a single hour. Palestinians and international volunteers planted 50 olive trees donated by FONSA in Yanoun village (the BBC reported a amazing total of 230,000 trees planted which sadly did not break the world record. But they all contribute to the UN billion trees campaign).

Supporting students

March 2010
In 2009 we have sponsored many students for all or part of their courses:

Four students in their final year at Al Quds Open University at Nablus graduated in Financial Administration, Accountancy, Social Work and Business Administration.

Two students at the An Daleeb College of Nursing completed their studies.

ICDL logo We supported 11 students at the Amra IT Institute who all got their International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL). They told us how useful this course is for their work or studies and that it helps them when applying for a job. This January, we enrolled a further 15 students for a similar course.

text - Where there is no well there is a way

March 2010

Water is essential for life and for agriculture so our latest project helps in a critical area. Approximately 220 towns and villages in the West Bank are not connected to the water grid and have to find ways to provide water to their inhabitants and livestock.

Palestinians are not allowed to dig wells without Israeli permission and some of their existing wells have been demolished by the Israeli Army. Even some water collection systems - used for harvesting rainwater - have been demolished.

The solution is water tankers which allow Palestinians to move water to their houses, livestock and crops.

A new FONSA water tanker being towed from the factory by a red tractor We have so far bought 3 water tankers at a cost of £830 each. One for the hamlet of Twayel, 12 km SE of Nablus, one for a farmer's co-operative in the villages of Burqa and Bizzaria and one for the village of Iraq Burin. We are getting more requests from other remote villages. Your donations can make this happen.

Water: Amnesty Report

March 2010
The start of our "tanker" campaign happened to coincide with a significant report by Amnesty International on water in the West Bank. This describes the disgraceful discrimination against Palestinians and shows how settlements are well watered while Palestinian villages are left thirsty and charged more for their supplies even though it comes from their own aquifers.

The illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank consume 280 litres per day per head compared to 86 litres for the Palestinians (and not all of this is drinkable). The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 100 litres per day per head.

Settlers are using more than double this amount whereas the 2.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, get nowhere near the minimum.

The first village we helped — Khirbet Twayel — features in the Amnesty report as a village where the Israeli army issued demolition orders for its traditional water cisterns without any good reason.

You can read this on page 44 of the Amnesty report which is available on their website (follow the link at

Future Activities

Strategic Planning

March 2010

The Trustees recently held a Strategic Planning Meeting. Based on information from our partners in Nablus and its villages, we were pleased that the previous and current projects have been successful. We agreed to concentrate current efforts on the following projects:

  • Supporting students
  • 10,000 trees for Nablus
  • Where there is a no well there's a way
  • Small Community initiatives
We might also support a women's cooperative to produce shopping bags.

We would like to fund a dental hygiene project that would be delivered by Palestinians volunteers in villages and schools.

We are convinced of the need for these projects. We have received many appreciations from those who have benefitted. This appreciation is for you — the donors — who make this possible. Please contact us if you have any particular projects you would like to support or hear more about.

Supporting Students

March 2010

For 2010 our goal is to sponsor at least 6 students at the two universities in Nablus: Al Quds Open University and An Najah National University. It will cost approximately £2,000. The students we help are all unable to afford their University fees. They could be just starting their studies or have dropped out because of lack of money. University fees in Palestine are paid by semester. (with two semesters in each academic year).


How to Donate

The essential ingredient

We have been spending the money raised and therefore have a continuing need to raise more if we are to support the projects listed above. So please continue to support our work. Standing orders are particularly appreciated — please phone us for a form or download it from our website:

You can also donate on-line (with a debit or credit card) at the FONSA page on Virgin Money Giving at

Please remember to tick the "Gift Aid" box if you are a UK taxpayer. It gives us an additional 28% income at no cost to you.

We are all volunteers and we have very little overhead, most of the money you donate to us goes directly to the projects described above. We thank you for your support

FONSA Trustees

This newsletter is sent to you because you are a supporter of FONSA or have expressed an interest in its work.  To unsubscribe, please send an email to with Unsubscribe as the subject.

Correspondence for the Treasurer and donations should be sent to:
FONSA Treasurer, 109 Southdown Avenue, LONDON W7 2AE

Our registered address is:
FONSA, 9 Broad Street, TAYPORT DD6 9AH Phone: 07761 104 609

Visit our website at or use a credit or debit card to donate on-line

Copyright (C) 2008-10 FONSA All rights reserved.
Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas (known as FONSA)
is a Registered Scottish Charity No. 038502