Aida Camp was established in 1950 between the Palestinian towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala, just a few kilometres from Jerusalem. In 1948 thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their original lands after the creation of Israel, what is known as the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic). The Palestinian population of the new Jewish State were forced to leave their homes and many ended up in refugee camps. The original refugees in Aida camp generally hailed from 17 villages in the western Jerusalem and western Hebron areas, including Walaja, Khirbet El Umur, Qabu, Ajjur, Allar, Deir Aban, Maliha, Ras Abu Ammar and Beit Nattif. Today there are about 5.000 refugees living in Aida.
Aida covers a small area of 0.71 square kilometres that has not grown significantly despite the increase in the refugee population. As such, it faces severe overcrowding problems. The camp is fully linked to municipal electricity and water grids, but the sewage and water networks are poor. The unemployment rate is about 70 per cent and is affected by the increased inaccessibility of the Israeli labour market. There is one school for girls and one for boys; both are run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). 60% of Aida population is under 15.
For more information about Palestinian refugees check Badil.org.