Going back to the 1980s, this photo offers a glimpse of the lives of Palestinian refugee children in the Shu‘fat refugee camp, East Jerusalem. The camp was built by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in 1965 to relocate 500 Palestinian refugee families who were living in the unofficial Mu’askar camp in the Old City and had been forced to leave their homes during the Nakba. According to UNRWA, their original homes were in Lydda, Jerusalem, 30 villages in Ramla, Gaza, and the area west of Hebron.1 After Israel occupied East Jerusalem and unilaterally tripled its area in June 1967 (see Where Is Jerusalem? The Uncertain and Unfixed Boundaries of the City), the camp came under Israeli jurisdiction, making it the only Palestinian refugee camp within its new boundaries.
In addition to providing health services and infrastructure to the camp’s growing population, UNRWA built two schools for girls and one school for boys, both of which continue to offer free education at the primary level.