We got an unexpected invitation to a celebration this evening. It was to thank retiring Mayor Adly Yaish and his councillors for their work over the last 7 years and to welcome the new team of councillors led by Ghassan Shaka'a.
This took place in a large country club about 12km west of Nablus. Surprised to find a TV crew set up with satellite dish and other paraphenalia.
Very pleased and surprised to see Bassem Shaka'a on the stage. He has had several medical conditions recently. In 1980 while he was Mayor of Nablus, he lost both his legs when Israeli settlers booby trapped his car. It was from this incident that the Dundee-Nablus twinning was founded so we owe a lot to him. Tonight he again showed his amazing courage and determination by participating in a public event despite his frailties.
His nephew Ghassan Shaka'a - who is likely to be the new Mayor - specifically welcomed us to the event and said, in English, that he would invite the Lord Provost of Dundee to Nablus at the earliest opportunity.
Then we got a text from a friend in the Old City of Nablus "Hello. We watch you on TV now. Convey greetings to Lord Provost :)"
So they did catch us amongst the audience. Perhaps not too surprising as we do tend to stand out somewhat because there are still very few internationals in Nablus.
We were pleased to meet many friends of Dundee in the audience - who will be known to some readers of this blog - including Dr Aloul, Abouna Jusef, Father Ibrahim, and Saed Abu Hijleh.