CBAid in Israel and Palestine
Jerusalem, 6th of May 2018 – CBA’s International Program Development Adviser, Elvis Džafić, visited the "Aida" refugee camp in Bethlehem, Palestine, where he met with representatives of local organizations working inside the camp, providing support to the Palestinian refugees.
It is important to note that "Aida camp was established in 1950, on the land UNRWA leased from the government of Jordan. The camp is located between the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Jerusalem. It is partially surrounded by the West Bank Barrier and is near to Har Homa and Gilo, two large Israeli settlements that are illegal under international law. These factors, along with the constant military presence and the camps’ proximity to the main checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, have made the camp vulnerable to a number of protection concerns.
After the Oslo Accords, the majority of Aida camp fell under Palestinian control (Area A), while some of its periphery (such as the main road running alongside the Barrier) fell under Israeli control (Area C). As a result of the Barrier and its associated regime, residents now have limited access to job opportunities in Israel and East Jerusalem.
The Barrier has also isolated Aida camp from the surrounding recreational area that was once available to the residents. Residents have responded by organizing a recreational space on the border of the camp, including a playground, a garden and a soccer field.
Aida camp covers a small area of 0.71 square kilometers that has not grown significantly with the refugee population. As such, it faces severe overcrowding problems. Poor personal safety and access (due to the camp’s proximity to the West Bank Barrier) and poor infrastructure are also cited by the camp residents as among the most urgent challenges they face." (taken from UNRWA web page)
Elvis Džafić noted that CBA is willing to continue cooperation with local humanitarian and development organizations currently active in Aida camp and outside of it, raise awareness among western Balkan countries about the Israel-Palestine situation and promote peace and reconciliation activities.
With the support of partners, and in cooperation with other international and local organizations active in Aida camp, CBA is planning a new program that would provide the opportunity for people in western Balkan countries to visit the near East and become part of activities within Aida camp and in other parts of Palestine and Israel.
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