West Bank (Press Shia) – Balata Refugee Camp, the biggest Palestinian camp in the West bank has now become a symbol of resistance against Zionist occupiers, more than six decades after forced immigration of people to this region from Jaffa in the Occupied Palestinian Lands.
Balata Refugee Camp located east of the city of Nablus, north of the West Bank, was established in 1952 to become a refugee camp for the population of 31 Palestinian villages. The displaced Palestinians entered the region after the Nekbat Day in 1948 and after occupation of Palestine.
Abdollah al-Kharroubi, one of the officials affiliated to the Jaffa cultural center in Balata Refugee Camp says, "Majority of Balata Refugee Camp residents are from Jaffa city and the villages around it. 80 percent of people living in this camp are originally from Jaffa and according to the UNRWA Agency official reports, it has a population of 27200 people. But, according to our estimates and information, the number is more and approximately, 30000 people are living in a quarter of one square kilometer camp since 1952."
Similar to 22 other camps in the West Bank, Balata Refugee Camp suffers social, economic and livelihood problems which is expected when a large population live in a very small densely populated area for more than six decades.
Speaking about the condition of the camps, Tayseer Nasrallah a member of revolution council in the Balata camp said, "The reality is that each year, the situation in camp becomes worsen and more dangerous as a result of occupation and lessening of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) responsibility towards Palestinian refugees. Social services have decreased and there are ration in the region. Unfortunately, less educational and health services are provided to people and the camp faces big dangers if the UNRWA continues this way."
Also, Imad Setive, member of the Palestinian groups coordination committee says, "Since the establishment of the camp till now, the occupying forces have always targeted it on a daily basis and violated the common rights of people and even the children. Thousands of residents have been injured, martyred and jailed to promote the Palestinian cause and boost the Palestinian resistance."
However, Balata camp residents had a great role in resisting the occupying forces who had forced them to immigrate and displaced them. In the long period of occupation, many residents were martyred or imprisoned and the youth had significant role in confronting the occupiers.