This episode was recorded in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, during our visit to Aida Youth Center where the director, Anas, spoke to us about the history of the refugee problem and life in the refugee camp.
There are 19 refugee camps in the Westbank, three of them are located in Bethlehem. Aida refugee camp is the most teargassed place in the world. There is an Israeli army base right next to the camp and the Israeli separation wall has been built just on the edge of the camp. There is literally no space for the Palestinians who live in Aida camp.
The camp was established by UNRWA in 1950 and families were given a tent to stay in. In 1956 they replaced the tents with rooms. One room for each six family members. There were no bathrooms and kitchens, only shared ones. These rooms have been replaced over time by houses built by the residents of Aida camp. And as there is no space to built outside of the camp area, they are building up, several floors. The camp has very narrow streets.
Aida camp is named after a Palestinian woman who had a coffee shop in this area and who was a support for the first refugees that came to Bethlehem. The inhabitants of the camp come from different towns and villages that used to be situated between Hebron and Jerusalem. They locked their homes and took their keys hoping that they would return after the attacks were over. But they were never allowed, despite the UN resolution 194 that states that all Palestinians have the right to return to their homes.
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