Aida (camp)

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Aida
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic مخيم عايده
 • Also spelled 'Ayda (official)
Aida is located in the Palestinian territories
Aida
Aida
Location of Aida within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°43′10.34″N 35°11′56.31″E / 31.7195389°N 35.1989750°E / 31.7195389; 35.1989750Coordinates: 31°43′10.34″N 35°11′56.31″E / 31.7195389°N 35.1989750°E / 31.7195389; 35.1989750
Governorate Bethlehem
Government
 • Type Refugee Camp (from 1950)
Area
 • Jurisdiction 66 dunams (0.1 km2 or 0.04 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 3,260

Aida (Arabic: عايده‎), also spelled 'Ayda, is a Palestinian refugee camp situated 2 kilometers north of Bethlehem and 1 kilometer north of Beit Jala in the central West Bank. Adjacent to Rachel's Tomb, it is walled off from Jerusalem by the Israeli West Bank barrier and contiguous to the Israeli neighbourhood of Gilo.[1] Named after a famous coffeehouse (maqhah) located on the site in the early 1940s,[2] Aida camp was established in 1950 and covered an area of 66 dunams.[3]

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 [Guernica]1936 – Palestina 1948.[1] According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the camp had a population of approximately 3,260 refugees in mid-year 2006.[4] It is the location of the Al Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center.[5] The Aida Refugee camp is adjacent to a new 4-star hotel, the Intercontinental. Unlike the situation at the Jenin refugee camp, the Aida refugees reportedly practice non-violent opposition to the Israeli occupation.[1]

Pope Benedict XVI visited the refugee camp during his Middle East pilgrimage visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009.

The mural at the entrance to the camp
Children returning home to Aida Camp from school, in front of the Israeli walls.

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