Jenin Camp was established by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, in 1953.
It was to become home for thousands of Palestinians who had been forced to leave their homes as a consequence of the establishment of the State of Israel.
Today there are more than 13,000 Palestinian refugees living in the camp, which sits on less than 0.5 square kilometers.
In 2002, the Israeli Army invaded the camp, aiming to put an end to the resistance of young Palestinian fighters. This invasion left the camp in a terrible condition. Hundreds of its inhabitants were killed and thousands were injured. The majority of the casualties were civilians whose bodies had been buried under the rubble. In a span of only a few days, more than 435 families had lost their homes.
Jenin Camp 2002
Most of today’s teenagers in the camp witnessed the Israeli invasion and its consequences. A huge number of them lost at least one family member and many others, whose fathers were taken to prison, have never seen them or, if so, only from behind bars.
The conflicts with the Israeli Army have left an entire generation of young people in the camp with the psychological scars of severe trauma. Many children suffer from night terrors, depression and constant fear. At the same time though, one encounters a baffling amount of confidence, creativity and hope.
Jenin Camp Today
Today, Jenin Camp has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the region. Most young boys quit school early due to lack of job or educational prospects and try to find small work in Jenin City.
Raids by the Israeli Army are a nightly occurrence and each time, soldiers storm in the camp, raiding homes, causing damage and abducting and arresting young boys and men.