During August 2015, nine youth from Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp participated in the annual Anti-Racism World Cup in Belfast, Ireland. The tour was funded and in collaboration with the Green Brigade, a left wing Celtic supporters group who bring noise and politics into the stadiums. Lajee Center’s youth group were delighted to be invited and participate in the activities, however, they experienced many difficulties in the lead up to the tournament, particularly with visa delays and travelling across borders. Despite the initial challenges, all nine participants travelled to Ireland and took part in the whole competition and had the opportunity to learn about the struggle in Belfast and Ireland from the people.
Today, October 5th, Aida Refugee camp lost another of its children to Israel’s occupation. Today, Abd al-Raham Shadi; a child of just 13 years, and a Palestinian refugee, was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem. Abd al-Raham was shot as he stood beneath the flag of the United Nations, a meter from the UNRWA office at the entrance of Aida Camp. Abd al-Raham is the seventh child of Aida Camp to have been killed by Israeli occupying forces since its encirclement by the illegal Annexation Wall in 2005. Many others have received non-fatal gunshot wounds whilst, in the same time period, more than 80 children of Aida Camp have been arrested by the Israeli military, typically during violent night-time home invasions.
Aida Camp which covers a small area of 0.71 square kilometers is home to more than 5000 Palestinian refugees. As Aida’s population continues to grow, the physical size of the camp remains constant and it is now enclosed on two sides by the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Aida’s residents face many problems today including regular invasions by the Israeli occupation forces, severe water shortages, overcrowding, and lack of green open spaces. Therefore, since its establishment in 2001, Lajee Center has worked towards safeguarding the lives and rights of Palestinian refugees including those related to the environment.