aida camp

from James Mollison’s “Playground”

Rhimal Area, Gaza City, Gaza / September 15, 2013

“This school is funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency UNRWA. The facilities are used by two separate schools. The morning schools has 976 girls and boys and the afternoon school has 945 boys. A huge piece of fabric hangs over the playground to protect the children from the sun. Overcrowding is a big problem at Maamounia. The school had to make new classrooms in shipping containers, which get very hot in summer. None of the teachers want to teach in these classrooms, so they take turns. Because of the blockade of Gaza, over forty percent of students’ parents are unemployed. The closing of the tunnels has hit the economy hard, and the shops are empty. The school was used as a shelter during the summer 2014 conflict, which claimed the lives of 138 students attending UNRWA schools.” 

Aida Boys School, Bethlehem, West Bank / September 8, 2013

“The Aida refugee camp, just outside Bethlehem, was set up in 1950 by the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestinians displaced from villages within Israel, and the school was built shortly afterward. The front line between Israelis and Palestinians during the First Intifada (1987-91) was close to the school, and its walls were thickened to protect its students against bullets. In 2004, the Israelis completed construction of its security wall just outside the entrance to the school, which the headmaster describes as “a humiliation in front of [the pupils] every day, a kind of restriction on their future.” The third and fourth graders watch the towers to see if the soldiers are looking, and, if not, they throw stones at them. Whenever hostilities flare up with the Israelis, the air fills with tear gas and the headmaster sends everyone home.” 

Holtz High School, Tel Aviv, Israel / September 12, 2013

“This high school is also a technical college and is affiliated with the Israeli Air Force. Nearly all of the pupils will be drafted into the Air Force as computer engineers, electronics specialists, and mechanics. The 850 students come from all over the country because they want a military career or because their parents believe that it will make them well-disciplined. In addition to tables for chess and ping-pong, there are a few old military aircraft spread around the campus. This phot was taken after the students had been practicing marching and military drills and while they were waiting for their parents to arrive to watch their end-of-term parade. The school belongs to the Amal group, established in 1928, a network of 120 institutions that concentrate on technological education to ensure that Israel will have the well-trained young people that it needs.” 

Tiferet-Menachem Chabad School, Beitar Illit, West Bank / September 10, 2013

“This school, serving 270 boys ages six through thirteen, is part of the Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, founded in 1984. The playground looks out across the Palestinian village of Nahalin. The settlement is home to more than 45000 Hardi Jews. It has the fastest-growing population of any West Bank settlement. Nearly two-thirds of the inhabitants are under the age of 18, and 20,000 are at school. Some families have as many as five boys enrolled in the school. Sixty percent of lessons are religious. Pupils also study math, Hebrew, and science. Parents who want this type of religious education also send their children to the school from Jerusalem. Although there are no physical education lessons, the boys played soccer during their break with evident enjoyment. Television is banned from the whole settlement, although computers with “kosher” internet are allowed.” 

Text and Photos by James Mollison

See that buck head? 25 yards, single action, no scope. See that one? 40 yards, Browning AB3. That bear head? 10 yards, .375 H&H. That blank spot over there? That’s where your head goes if you touch my daughter.
—  Kagetora, to Hyuuga and Kiyoshi

Celtic (Scottish football club) fans have raised more than £100,000 for Palestinian charities in an attempt to match an impending Uefa fine for displaying Palestinian flags at a match against an Israeli team.

European football’s governing body began disciplinary proceedings against the Glasgow club last week after a number of fans displayed the flags during their 5-2 home victory against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in a Champions League qualifier.

The return leg is due to be played in Israel on Tuesday night.

The Green Brigade group of supporters set up an appeal on the gofundme website on Sunday to match the anticipated fine, and donations passed £80,000 on Tuesday morning.

The fans are raising money for Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement”, and the Lajee Centre, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem.

The appeal read: “At the Champions League match with Hapoel Be’er Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned Celtic respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from Uefa, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’.

“In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine.”

The statement said the money raised would help buy football kit and equipment to enable the refugee camp to have a team, which would be called Aida Celtic, in the Bethlehem youth league.

Celtic face their ninth Uefa punishment for supporter behaviour in five years when the case is heard on 22 September. Two years ago the club was fined more than £15,000 after a Palestinian flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.

Uefa rules forbid the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.


For #WorldTourismDay, we asked you to send in pictures of your travels to Palestine. Here is just a small selection of some of the beautiful photographs we received! 

Thank you to everyone who submitted, we loved seeing your pictures! 

“In the aida refugee camp in Bethlehem last week, palestinian youth activist munther amira came up with an idea for a  political statement. he organized a group of children from the camp to have their photos taken and then painted flags on the posters of countries that support the palestinian……..”






 “Our story is not yet over. Our case is not yet solved. Are we still here? Have we still not returned to our homes and villages?” Their gazes brim with memories of something lost, of their youth. Everything in this old taxicab references their past, even the black leather seats that coordinate with the two men’s matching clothes. The kafiyya and ’iqal, or black band used to hold the kafiyya in place, represent our heritage. Even though the two men are not looking at each other, or even in the same direction, I sense they are in a deep conversation about a topic familiar to both of them. It is as if they are saying to each other: “We have traveled together, you and I—we dreamed of return, to spend one night of our many nights, full of singing and dabka dancing, with our family and neighbors. Or to spend a day in the fields, taking care of our land, the land that offered us the most delicious olives and olive oil. Will we ever taste a za’tar like that za’tar again? A journey, we have lived, but here we are, right now.”

Our memories accompany us. They wound us every day. But our hopes of return will not be diminished, our dream to spend a treasured night on our land.

Aida Camp, Occupied Palestine, 2004. By Alessandra Sanguinetti.

[SHOCKING: Israeli Police Officer Threatens to ‘Gas’ Palestinians to Death]

“We will gas you until you die – your families, your sisters, your children, everyone.” – Israeli border police officer to Palestinians in the Aida refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
PS. The officer has been suspended but the operation and occupation is still going on.

Palestinian protesters take cover behind planks during clashes with Israeli occupation forces in Bethlehem following a funeral at the nearby Aida refugee camp on January 13, 2016. 

Srur Ahmad Abu Srur, 21, was buried at Aida refugee camp a day after he was shot in the chest by Israeli forces in Beit Jala.