SWINDON could be twinned with a small town in Palestine, known for its stone cutting factories.

The council's Town Twinning Network will consider a request from the Palestinian Twinning Network at a meeting on Wednesday.

A group of peace campaigners from Swindon visited Beit Fajjar last October to promote friendship links with the town in the Bethlehem district.

Beit Fajjar is a small town of 12,000 people next to the controversial wall that the Israeli government is constructing.

The group met the Mayor of Beit Fajjar and they say twinning with the town would raise awareness of the need to build bridges not walls.

Andy Newman, the secretary of Swindon Stop The War Coalition, and a member of the delegation who visited the town, said: "There's quite a lot of popular support for this twinning arrangement.

"We have taken the approach that if we can get a formal twinning then that would be fantastic but it will be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

"I can see any number of obstacles but I hope we succeed."

The group has already been trying to build grass roots support for the Palestinian town.

Andy said: "It's similar to Swindon in that it's a mainly industrial town.

"The trade unions there have problems with lung-related diseases because of the quarries, just as Swindon has because of the railways.

"The trade unions asked us to help raise money to help them make some sort of provision for people without health care."

A number of trade unions in Swindon, including the GMB and TUC have made donations.

There are also plans to hold a night of live music at the 12 Bar, Westcott Place, to raise money for the town.

Andy said: "We hope the twinning is supported because any official link would really be appreciated by this small town but there's a lot of practical stuff we are doing as well.

"The idea of twinning is to try and build understandings with cultures that are quite different from our own."

Beit Fajjar has a folklore and dance tradition, which the local children like to perform.

"We would like to bring the dance troupe over one day," Andy said.

There has been fighting in Beit Fajjar during recent years and many of the population are refugees.

Unemployment there has risen dramatically since the traditional quarries in the area were cut off from their markets by the wall.

The Town Twinning Network will meet at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street at 6pm.