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Friends of Nablus
and Surrounding Areas


FONSA newsletter July 2011

There is still lots to report and as you will see from the news, the situation in the West Bank continues to be extremely difficult. Another of the villages where we have worked has been subject to land confiscation orders.

Our donors continue to be our foundation. There have been generous single donations and you gave over £1,300 by supporting Mike's cycle ride in May. Most of this money will be used to support students in Nablus but we have been working on many other projects as well.

 Newsletter 5 on our website.

FONSA students

Student Profile: Mariam Masarwha

Interviewed in Nablus by Jean

Mariam standing beside Jean
Mariam and Jean at An Najah University

Mariam Masarwha came to our attention when the Dean of her Law School asked her why she had not enrolled as expected. She explained that her family had supported her through her first degree and had to support their other children, two of whom were now of university age. The Dean then asked FONSA if we could help which we were pleased to do.

Mariam lives in Nablus is 21 and has just finished the first year of her Masters in Law. She is the eldest of 7 children. Her father is an ambulance driver at a local hospital and her mother is a housewife. She is a top student having come third in her year when she completed her first degree.

Her Masters will take 3 years to complete and then she hopes to continue with a PhD. She is already getting work experience in a local law firm and hopes in the future to combine practising as a lawyer with teaching at the University. The photo of us was taken by her fiance - they hope to get married at the end of this year. On behalf of FONSA donors we wish Mariam every success.

Student support

From the beginning FONSA has supported needy students, both at university and at technical and nursing colleges. Our  Newsletter 4 gave a list of the cost of various courses and their costs. We welcome donations to help with this work.

FONSA project update

10,000 Trees for Nablus- Plant Their Future

July 2011

We joined this campaign in April 2009. It was launched by three Nablus organisations: The Committee Against Settlements in the Nablus Governorate, Al Hayat Centre for Civil Society Development and the Nablus-Dundee Twinning Association.

Young boy stands amid olive trees grown in plastic containers
Young children joined in the planting of FONSA olive trees. Urif village near Nablus, April 2011

So far, thanks to your donations, we have planted 3,292 trees (2,882 olive trees and 410 fruit trees). You can read all about it and see photos at

The trees have been planted in vulnerable villages around Nablus; they all suffer from the proximity of illegal Jewish settlements. Recently, Jewish settlers have increased their activities and have been harassing villages such as Burin, Awarta and Aqraba. Go to Maan News or see the UN report on Khirbet Tana

It is urgent that we increase our tree planting to thwart the settlers. We need your donations to plant more and more trees. They cost £4 for an olive tree and £2 for a fruit tree which includes the costs of planting. Further details on our web site Why not plant an orchard!

FONSA gift certificate
Olive tree gift certificate

As well as direct donations for trees, you can also donate trees as a gift to your friends and family. We will send you a FONSA gift certificate explaining the purpose of your gift. Olive trees stand for thousands of years watching events around them. Their message of peace echoes through the hills of Palestine even as the Israeli settlers continue to damage, uproot and burn.

FONSA cannot stop these attacks, and our trees have generally remained intact. But we plant in difficult areas where the absence of cultivation can make it easier for settlers to steal land.

Olive and fruit trees continue to be a source of income for farmers. Some of our trees will soon be starting their first, tentative, fruiting and we look forward to many, many years of bountiful harvests – and peace!

FONSA Partnerships

FONSA project management

Working in Co-operation
Three people handing over data projector and laptop in the IT classroom of Madama girl's school
Riyad Khanfar (Al Hayat Centre), Jean Fitzpatrick (FONSA) hand over a data projector and laptop to the Head Teacher of Madama Girl's School

During the past year we have developed partnerships with individuals and organisations who share our objectives of supporting the people of Nablus and surrounding areas. Several have developed links with a particular village and use our expertise and charitable status to facilitate their work.

The projects must meet at least one of our charitable aims: furthering education, relieving poverty and supporting community initiatives in Nablus and surrounding areas.

Some recent examples:

  • Through a donor, we bought a generator for the village of Khirbet Tana. Unfortunately in early March, this village has for the 6th time suffered demolition by the Israeli army. Described in an EAPPI report and a UN Fact Sheet
  • Through another donor we delivered a visual aid machine to help two severely visually impaired school girls in Assira village
  • The Friends of Burin and Madama asked us to work with them to build a new classroom for the Madama boys’ school and to buy IT equipment for the girls’ school (see photo)
  • With Hastings Friends of Yatma we are renovating a children’s clinic and providing internet access to a women’s association in Yatma village
  • Other donors have funded two students from Yanoun village and one from Urif village through their university studies in Nablus

Our experience on the ground has ensured that the projects deliver what was intended. And because we work in partnership with the Nablus charity Al Hayat Centre, we can implement these projects efficiently and robustly. Funds are always put to work to help people directly, and are accounted for professionally.

If you or your group would like more information please email

From Riyad Khanfar

Executive Director, Al Hayat Centre, Nablus

June 2011
Farmers standing, talking in Iraq Burin
Farmers in Iraq Buring talking to members of Al Hayat Centre

The nicest thing in Palestine is for Palestinians to feel that there is someone supporting them, who listens and empathises with their needs. It is important for Palestinians to feel that they are not alone, living as we do under the longest ongoing occupation in the world!

For over two years there has been close cooperation and partnership between FONSA in the UK and HAYAT Centre in Nablus, – serving the local community in Nablus, and the really needy places around it.

It is our firm belief, as Palestinians and beneficiaries of this great help and support, that FONSA is playing a real and very important role – that is related closely to the priorities identified by the locals themselves in Nablus.

As the executive director of HAYAT Centre who is officially managing FONSA projects and programs at the Nablus end, it is my deep pleasure to acknowledge the rise in financial support from FONSA donors.

Through this support we are able to touch people’s lives here in the West Bank. I would like to express on behalf of the beneficiaries my thanks to FONSA and you the donors for your continued interest and generosity.


How to Donate

Always important

Our projects need your support and we are grateful for your donations. Standing orders are ideal and our standing order form is very easy to fill in.

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

Please remember to tick the "Gift Aid" box if you are an eligible UK taxpayer. It gives us an additional 25% income at no cost to you.

We are all volunteers and we have very little overhead; 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

Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas (known as FONSA)
is a Registered Scottish Charity No. 038502