As soon as we heard of the possibility to visit a refugee camp near Nablus, we knew we had to try to go. We understood that, after some incidents, one of which had included two Israeli intelligence personnel spying inside a refugee camp to identify active Palestinian fighters, which led to subsequent action by the Israeli military, it could be tricky for foreigners to just walk into a camp alone. So there we were, taking a taxi in Nablus, on our way to Asker.
We stopped at a community centre just opposite Asker refugee camp, which was also used for creative activities for Palestinian refugee kids. The idea is to give them something positive to be active in, and to give them the opportunity to dance and paint, in order to set their minds off the harsh reality they face in the camp. Frequent incursions, patrols, military action do not normally contribute to a good background for kids anywhere. We were welcomed by Palestinians involved and living in the camp, explaining us about the background. Understandably, our host protested when we were offered Israeli made fruit juice; within minutes, we had Palestinian fruit juice instead.
It was a turning point: our host showed his sense of injustice, and as he talked about the situation in the camp and the country, we could feel his pain and the problems people face every day. A simple example: the fact that water is supplied to the camp only a few times a week. While walking in the narrow alleys of the camp itself, we heard more stories. When we came to the end of the camp, we could clearly see, on the surrounding hilltops, an Israeli military camp, as well as illegal Israeli settlements. Once again during our visit to the West Bank, we realized that this is an area of permanent war - either hot or cold. The solution seemed far away: probably too much has happened already. With mixed feelings, and a gloomy outlook for the future, we left Asker again and returned to Nablus.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Asker refugee camp (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Asker refugee camp.
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