Karama: Our History


Posted by: John Phoenix

Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000, Palestinians in refugee camps all over the West Bank have been surrounded by an environment of violence, devastation, poverty, and despair. Thousands of children grow up here in dire economic circumstances, with many limitations in the area of education, recreation, mobility and future opportunities.

What started as scared families fleeing the violence in 1947/1948, are now third-generation refugees in concrete jungles with still limited hope for the future. There are currently 19 refugee camps on the West Bank alone, with around 16,000 people living in Deheishe Camp.

While services have grown in these camps, they remain depressing environments for children to grow up in; frequent violent army raids, restrictions on movement, gatherings and expression, limited opportunities for education and employment. A large part of the men in these camps have spent time in the occupation’s prison system, bruised and marked for life and -unwillingly- leaving their marks on the emotional and psychological development of their children.

The occupation leaves daily mark on the physical and emotional state of every child, woman and man in Palestine. Refugee children have lost feelings of hope, happiness and peace. These children grow up without the privileges of gardens, playgrounds, libraries and youth centers. This results in them having to be confined to their small living spaces as the streets of refugee camps have no safe space for children. Women carry additional burdens of social limitations placed on them, few jobs or economic opportunities and even less control over their lives.

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