Al-Shati was established in 1948 for about 23,000 Palestinians fleeing the cities of Jaffa, Lod and Beersheba as well as surrounding villages during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1971, Israeli authorities demolished over 2,000 shelters for the purpose of widening the roads for security reasons. About 8,000 refugees were forced to leave the camp to the nearby housing project in Sheikh Radwan in Gaza City.
Before September 2000, when Israel closed off its border with the Gaza Strip due to the violence of the Second Intifada, the majority of al-Shati's work force were laborers in Israel or worked in agriculture. Today, some refugees work in workshops and sewing factories. A sizable number of the camp's 2453 families depend on fishing for income. It contains a sewage system, a health center and 23 schools (17 primary, 6 secondary).
^Badil During the 1970s, the Israeli military administration destroyed thousands of refugee shelters in the occupied Gaza Strip under the guise of security. Large refugee camps were targeted in particular. Refugees were forcefully resettled in other areas of the occupied Gaza Strip, with a smaller number transferred to the occupied West Bank. In the occupied Gaza Strip, several housing projects were established for these refugees. Some of these projects today are referred to as camps. These include the Canada project (1972), the Shuqairi project (1973), the Brazil project (1973), the Sheikh Radwan project (1974), and the al-Amal project (1979).
1 The UNRWA definition of a "Palestinian refugee" is a person "whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict ... UNRWA's definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948."