Aida Camp

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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic مخيم عايده
 • Also spelled 'Ayda (official)
Aida is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Aida within Palestine
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
 • Type Refugee Camp (from 1950)
 • Jurisdiction 66 dunams (0.1 km2 or 0.04 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 3,260

Aida (Arabic: مخيم 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. He said that the refugees lived in "precarious and difficult conditions" and that "It is tragic to see walls still being erected".[6]

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

On 29 October 2015, at dusk, a video filmed on his iPhone by a resident of the Aida Refugee Camp, Yazan Ikhlayel (17), captured a megaphone address made from an Israeli military vehicle during a raid into the camp. The speech warned residents that, if they did not desist from stone throwing they would be gassed to death -children, youths and the aged. Referring apparently to the arrest of Qassan Abu Aker, the speaker added that one of the arrested would be killed as the residents looked on if the throwing did not stop.[7][8][9][10] The Border Police immediately suspended the officer suspected in the incident, and is reviewing his continued service in the force. [9]


See also[edit]

  1. ^ "Camp Profiles". United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Retrieved 2 July 2015.