The Refugee Camp of Balata was raided by hundreds of Israeli soldiers and was
shelled from air by Apache Helicopters on Thursday, February 28th. The invasion
so far has claimed the lives of 13 Palestinians and the wounding of over 180, 60
of them are described as being in critical condition. A large number of the
wounded are children. Here is some further information about Balata Refugee
Balata Refugee Camp was established in 1948, after the invasion of Palestine.
Balata Refugee Camp is located near Nablus, in the Northern part of the West
Bank. The camp is 2.5 kilometers square. Of the 4.5million Palestinian refugees
spread throughout the globe today, approximately 20,000 of these registered
refugees inhabit the camp of Balata, making it the largest refugee camp in the
In Arabic, the word \"Balata\" means \"Rock\", and is an appropriate name for
this community. While the people of Balata have been struck with severe poverty
and suffer cruel oppression, they have been a great example of strength and
resistance for all Palestinians. Balata’s community has suffered hundreds upon
hundreds of casualties as a result of frequent incursions and raids of Israeli
soldiers throughout the years.
Although Balata may simply look like an extension of the city of Nablus, the
conditions within Balata are quite different from those outside of the camp. One
of the primary differences is, that as the population grows, there is not room
for demographic expansion, which leads to the issue of severe overpopulation, a
problem from which all Palestinian refugee camps suffer.
In its earlier years, Balata was an enormous tent city. But as years passed, and
the refugee problem experienced no resolve, permanent structures began taking
root. Permanent structures now stand where tents once stood.
Yet although there are some paved roads and permanent structures within Balata,
the camp still faces many problems. Heatlhcare, education, and many other public
and human services are dangerously lacking. Schools suffer overcrowding and
medical facilities lack the basic necessities to treat patients. Since the
outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising, the level of unemployment, which
was dangerously low has plummeted even higher; the poverty level stands at its
worst rates yet.
Because this is the reality in which millions of Palestinian refugees live
today, for the inhabitants of Balata, the question of the refugees right of
return, and therefore their future status is crucial.