Episode 9 Fact 2: Shu'fat Camp
Shu’fat (also known as Shuafat) camp was established in 1965 by UNRWA. It is located on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem on an area mass of 0.2sq km. It was set up as a replacement camp for M’aska which had been established in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem after the Nakba in 1948. The Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev, illegal under international law, is located immediately to the camp’s north - on the other side of the wall.
Shu’fat is the only Palestinian refugee camp located within the borders of Jerusalem municipality, or any other Israeli-administered area. While its residents carry Jerusalem identity cards the camp itself is largely serviced by UNRWA. Israeli presence is limited to check-points controlling entry and exit. No responsibility is taken by Israel for any municipal services including health, education, crime prevention and sanitation, despite residents of Shu’fat paying taxes to Israeli authorities.
While the economic situation of the camp's residents is better than that of refugees living in other West Bank refugee camps, the infrastructure is in poor condition.
In a survey in 2000 it was reported that 59% of Israeli Jews supported redefining the borders of the city of Jerusalem so as to exclude Arab settlements such as Shu’fat, in order to secure a ‘Jewish majority’ in Jerusalem. In 2003, Israel began the construction of the West Bank Barrier in East Jerusalem, routing it so that Shu’fat camp and surrounding areas ended up on the ‘West Bank side’. Today, residents have to pass through a crowded checkpoint to access Jerusalem, having been effectively cut-off from the municipal district within which it lies.
According to UNRWA, the number of officially registered refugees does not exceed 10,000, however it is acknowledged the real figure more likely sits between 25,000 to 30,000 Palestinians.
Ref. UNRWA, B’Tselem, Wikipedia references