Visit to a West Bank refugee camp (Dheisheh Camp near Bethlehem, Ama’ri Camp near Ramallah, or Qalandia Camp between Jerusalem and Ramallah) where we meet with families and learn about the camp life and background of the Palestinian refugees.
Dheisheh Refugee Camp (Arabic: مخيم الدهيشة) is a Palestinian refugee camp located just south of Bethlehem in the West Bank. Dheisheh was established in 1949 on 0.31 square kilometers of land leased from the Jordanian government. The camp was established as a temporary refuge for 3,400 Palestinians from 45 villages west of Jerusalem and Hebron who fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Six decades of natural population growth have expanded the camp’s dimensions into an area between 1 and 1.5 square kilometers. The exact dimensions are subject to periodic debate between residents, UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority. The latter two are required to provide services to residents, depending on their resident status within the camp.
Although initially living in tents, the residents have since constructed homes. Many streets are now paved, while still remaining very narrow. According to UNRWA, the entire camp is connected to the municipal water and electric systems of Bethlehem, yet 15% of the camp remains unconnected to the local public sewage system. These homes make use of communal percolation pits.
al-Am’ari Refugee Camp (Arabic: مخيّم الأمعري) is a Palestinian refugee camp in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, located 2 kilometers South of Ramallah in the central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the Camp had a population of 5,719 inhabitants in mid-year 2006. The al-Am’ari camp has 10,377 registered refugees. The al-Am’ari camp was established in 1949 on 90 dunums within the municipal boundaries of al-Bireh. By 1957, all tents in the camp were replaced with cement block shelters. Like most of the West Bank camps, Amari suffers from overcrowding, poor sewerage and water networks. The camp falls in under Palestinian Authority control. The refugee camp has 2 schools, the boys school has 1250 pupils and the girls school has 970 pupils.
Kalandia (Arabic: قلنديا, Hebrew: קלנדיה), also Qalandiya, is a Palestinian village located in the West Bank, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, just west from the Jerusalem municipality boundary. In 2006, 1,154 people were living in the village according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Kalandia is also the name of a refugee camp, established by UNRWA in 1949. It is located just east from Jerusalem municipality. Kalandia refugee camp was built for Palestinians refugees from Lydda, Ramle and Jerusalem victims of the 1948 Palestinian exodus.