Aida Refugee Camp - Bethlehem

 - by Mutasem -
Aida is a Palestinian refugee camp situated 2 kilometers north of the historic centre of Bethlehem in with a population of approximately 5,498 refugees.

Named after a famous coffeehouse (maqhah) located on the site in the early 1940s, Aida camp was established in 1950 by refugees from the Jerusalem and Hebron areas, and covered an area of 66 dunams. At the time, Aida housed 1125 refugees living in 94 tents.
The camp came under special hardship during the Second Intifada, when the school sustained severe damage and 29 housing units were destroyed.

Pope Benedict XVI visited the refugee camp during his Middle East pilgrimage visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009. He said that the refugees lived in "precarious and difficult conditions" and that "It is tragic to see walls still being erected".

On 29 October 2015, at dusk, a video filmed on his iPhone by a resident of the Aida Refugee Camp, Yazan Ikhlayel (17), captured a megaphone address made from an Israeli military vehicle during a raid into the camp. The speech warned residents that, if they did not desist from stone throwing they would be gassed to death -children, youths and the aged. Referring apparently to the arrest of Qassan Abu Aker, the speaker added that one of the arrested would be killed as the residents looked on if the throwing did not stop.

Aida camp is adjacent to Rachel's Tomb, walled off from Jerusalem by the Israeli West Bank barrier and contiguous to the Israeli settlement of Gilo. The Aida Refugee camp is adjacent to a new 4-star hotel, the Intercontinental, on the Jerusalem-Hebron road. On the camp's entrance gate a huge "key of return" is pictured, and on the separation barrier a largo graffito has been painted with the words Gernika 1936 – Palestina 1948.

For the Bethlehem tour, which includes a visit to the refugee camp - >> Details here >>

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