Arwa Abu Haikal sadly died

Arwa lived in Sheffield for a good number of years, perhaps seven or eight and made very many friends both within the Arabic community and within the Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Like many Palestinian women Arwa was passionate about women’s education and was part of the planning group of Sheffield Palestinian Women’s Scholarship Fund for years. During this time she spoke at International Women’s Day events for Palestine in various northern towns such as Bradford, Saddleworh and Durham/Newcastle.
Her family lived in Tel Rumeida in Hebron where religious settlers make some of the most vicious attacks in the West Bank. The family’s traditional orchards containing almonds and other fruits were taken over by the settlers. At one point some soldiers took over the top  floor of her family home because of its strategic position while they were living there. She sustained an injured leg after being badly beaten by a soldier which continued to give her pain and interfered with her ability to walk for the rest of her life. She once defended the family’s centuries old olive tree by sitting under it in the blazing sun for a full day to stop a bulldozer from destroying one of their most treasured possessions.
She worked with many children’s groups which were set up in Tel Rumeida which to support the traumatised children who could be woken in the middle of the night by the military who would then ransack the family possessions, take away – sometimes fathers often brothers, for interrogation which could last for many months without any formal charges and no family contact.
With this background Arwa could sometimes be feisty and verbally fight her corner She was also very caring and supportive. Although she returned to live in Palestine a few years ago she returned regularly to Sheffield to  visit her friends. We will miss her. Tribute by Val