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Dheisheh Refugee Camp, West Bank

Natalie Becker | Palestine, Israel

Wall art depicting United Nations' tents. Originally the Dheisheh Refugee Camp was all tents.

The Dheisheh Refugee Camp, established in 1949 on 0.31 square kilometers of land, was intended as a temporary settlement for approximately 3,400 Palestinians from villages west of Jerusalem and Hebron who fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. 

Because of the increasing population and space limitations houses are built on top of other houses.  The entire camp is connected to the municipal water and electric systems of Bethlehem, yet 15% of the camp remains unconnected to the local public sewage system. 

While education is greatly respected, the two schools that serve the camp are extremely overcrowded. For those who need to find work or to study at a university the byzantine checkpoints and varieties of identity papers determines the where, why and how of one's existence and potential future. The surprise night visits from the Israeli forces, the body searches, arrests and daily frustrations of a very limited labor market, settler encroachment, inadequate healthcare and interminable waits at the checkpoints make any kind of planning for education or a future near impossible.

 

Some of the photos in this exhibit were taken during a '<a href="http://www.toursinenglish.com/2007/11/bedouin-in-negev-and-west-bank.html" target="">Bedouin Reality Tour</a>' with Green Olive Tours.
 

 The photographs were taken in April 2010 in addition to interviewing  residents of the camp.

 Natalie Becker

nbecker2@nyc.rr.com

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