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City of Nablus Crest

DundeeNablus Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي

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History of the Dundee Nablus Twinning Association

The idea of making a twinning link between Dundee and Nablus arose after the car of the then Mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shaka’a, was 99oby-trapped; he lost his legs and came to the UK to be fitted with new limbs. There had been trade union links between Dundee and Palestine for a while, so Dundee Councillor Colin Rennie, Ernie Ross MP and George Galloway met up with Bassam Shaka’a in London.

It was there that Colin Rennie suggested twinning.  On 18th November 1980 the decision to twin with Nablus was passed by the District Council - a courageous act in the face of considerable opposition.  Two weeks later Mayor Shaka’a came to Dundee, where he was welcomed by Mayor Jim Gowans and Ernie Ross MP and a group of students. He brought gifts, including the shield on display in Dundee City Chambers.  By December the Palestinian flag was flying in Dundee alongside those of its other twin cities. Mayor Shak’a was later fitted with a second pair of artificial legs in the Dundee Limb Fitting Centre. 

Over the years several visits have taken place between the two cities, though this has become increasingly difficult.  Nevertheless, in October 1996 an official Twinning document was signed in Dundee by Lord Provost Mervyn Rolfe & Mayor Ghassan Shaka’a.  It said: “By the re-affirmation of the arrangement, the two cities  of Dundee and Nablus pledge that together they will actively co-operate to ensure the continuing development of close relationships between their citizens.”

2005 saw the 25th anniversary of the two city twinning. This event was celebrated with a party and a civic reception in Dundee where Nablus was represented by three delegates from the projects DNTA has supported in the city. Meanwhile, the DNTA chairperson was in Nablus, marking the occasion there. A new document was signed:

“Proud of the contribution their respective cities have made to international friendship and understanding the Lord Provost of the City of Dundee and the Acting Mayor of Nablus wish to reaffirm the twinning treaty. By the reaffirmation of this treaty the cities of 99th Dundee and Nablus pledge that together,
They will actively co-operate to ensure the continuing development of close relationships between the citizens.
They promise to facilitate the creation of direct links between institutions and organisations wishing to partake in twinning activity.
They will encourage exchanges between young people to ensure succeeding generations learn the history of the relationship between the cities and the role that each has played in its own national history.
They will take every opportunity to share skills and knowledge to the benefit of their respective citizens.
They undertake to convene regular meetings between representatives in order to evaluate co-operation programmes.”