Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

UN Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA): Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank

(Updated February 2017)

The West Bank is home to nearly 775,000 registered refugees, around a quarter of whom live in 19 camps. Most of the others live in West Bank towns and villages. Some camps are located next to major towns and others are in rural areas.

While the West Bank has the largest number of recognized Palestine refugee camps in the five UNWRA fields, the largest of them, Balata, has a population similar to that of the smallest camp in Gaza.

West Bank UNRWA Camps

Camp

Number of Refugees

Aida

3,150

Am'ari

6,100

Aqbat Jabr

8,600

Arroub

9,850

Askar

18,000

Balata

17,700

Beit Jibrin

1,300

Camp No. 1

4,600

Deir 'Ammar

2,200

Dheisheh

15,000

Ein el-Sultan

3,800

Far'a

7,100

Fawwar

8,100

Jalazone

9,450

Jenin

12,250

Kalandia

9,950

Nur Shams

7,350

Shu'fat

9,850

Tulkarm

12,000

TOTAL

166,350

Facts and figures

  • 774,167  registered Palestine refugees
  • 19 camps
  • 97 schools, with 50,566 pupils
  • 2 vocational and technical training centres
  • 42 primary health centres
  • 15 community rehabilitation centres
  • 19 women’s programme centres

Challenges

West Bank camp residents have been hard hit by closures imposed on the West Bank by the Israeli authorities, as they are largely dependent on income from work inside Israel.

The camps are extremely overcrowded, with a lack of space, particularly parks and playgrounds, for children to play.

Unemployment

Unemployment levels are particularly high among West Bank refugees. Households spend an average of half their income on food, leaving very little to spend on other essentials such as shelter and education. This encourages a cycle of debt, further entrenching poverty.

Overcrowding

Overcrowding is a huge problem in UNRWA’s schools, with an average of 50 pupils per classroom. A number of schools share the same school building, which reduces teaching time, while others operate in rented premises.

Many schools have also been damaged by Israeli military activity since September 2000.

Infrastructure

The high population density and rapidly growing population has massively strained the camp infrastructure. Residents frequently expand their homes with no proper planning and old sewage networks are unable to cope.


Sources: UNRWA