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Palestinian Territories: Asker refugee camp

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Asker refugee camp | Palestinian Territories | Asia

[Visited: May 2008]

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.

Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): People in a street of Asker refugee camp

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.

Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian boy on the lookout in Asker

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.

Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian office in Asker refugee camp
Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Stairs and alley in Asker
Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian kids playing in an alley of Asker refugee camp
Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Woman in Asker refugee camp
Picture of Asker refugee camp (Palestinian Territories): Street in Asker I refugee camp

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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