Palestinian refugees at Shuafat Camp have little hope of going home

The UN-serviced refugee camp was set up to house Palestinians fleeing the 1948 and 1967 wars. The only camp on Israeli-administered territory, Shuafat is congested and populated by refugees who were prosperous once.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A Palestinian youth looks towards a section of Israel's separation barrier near the West Bank Shuafat refugee camp, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (File photo)

The Shuafat Camp serviced by the UN is a refugee camp for Palestinians on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It houses refugees who fled the 1948 and 1967 wars, and their descendants, also refugees.

The camp is administered by Israel as part of Jerusalem even though it is on the Palestinian side of the separation wall.

A blue pass gives refugees the right to work in Israel, but it does not give them the right to live there. 

The Palestinians pay taxes to Israel, but see little return. The camp is congested and poorly maintained.

"There's a bad security situation because no one thinks they're responsible. Israel only comes in if it's necessary. There are robberies. There's a drug problem," Jawad Abu Zuleib, from the Shuafat Community Centre, said. "We're trying to educate people, but there's a lot of pressure."

The refugees were once independent and even prosperous. Many use the word "guest" to describe their status in Shuafat Camp. But few see hope of returning home.

TRT World’s Abubakr al Shamahi reports from Shuafat Camp on the outskirts of Jerusalem.