Video: Children of the Camp

Israel/Palestine

On Thursday, January 21 children from Bethlehem’s Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps talked to Mondoweiss about their life in the camps. We wanted to know exactly how much the children understood about the military occupation going on around them, and how normal they believed their lives were. With their parents permission, we asked five children from the streets of the two camps what they thought. All of the answers were spontaneous and unrehearsed, and as it turned out, the kids understood — and have experienced — quite a lot.

Many of the children talked about tear gas, soldiers, and being scared of going outside. All of the children have seen family members killed, injured and detained by Israeli forces — as is the life in the occupied West Bank’s many refugee camps. Still, the children have high hopes, telling Mondoweiss they want to be doctors, lawyers and engineers when they grow up.

Video: Sheren Khalel and Abed al Qaisi
Music: Bakr Khalifa

About Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

Other posts by .


About Abed Al Qaisi

Abed Al Qaisi is a freelance multimedia journalist covering conflict in the Middle East and Europe. Abed has done work for Al Jazeera English, USA Today, Vice News and more.

Other posts by .


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10 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 22, 2016, 12:17 pm

    what a devastating video. these kids — what a tragic life.

    • TerriKnoll
      January 23, 2016, 12:39 pm

      We have the power to stop it. BDS worked in South Africa, it can work in Israel.

      • Kathleen
        January 24, 2016, 1:09 pm

        yes…clearly Israel does not want a two state solution. One state, one person, one vote

  2. chocopie
    January 22, 2016, 1:54 pm

    What lovely children, so sweet and trusting, look how they smile at the interviewer as they answer questions about the frightening things they’ve seen.

  3. Marnie
    January 23, 2016, 5:32 am

    What is so inspiring to me are the aspirations these children have for their future and the professions they desire to help their people. They are beautiful.

  4. Boomer
    January 23, 2016, 5:36 am

    Every day we see another moving report here about the conditions of the Palestinians. Just now I heard BBC report that a 14 year old Palestinian girl has been shot dead by Israelis, “because she attacked with a knife.” If it is in fact true that she did, I imagine it was due to desperation born of such conditions. The U.S. government does much to enable those conditions with our financial and diplomatic and military support for Israel. The U.S. government has done nothing to end them. At most some of our leaders make a few comments about the problem that indicate they know the truth.

    Yesterday the NY Times published an editorial about the Flint water crisis. The Times used the phrase “depraved indifference” to describe the response of government leaders to that problem in Michigan. We learned from the Freddie Gray case that “depraved indifference” can be a legal, as well as a moral term. It can be a criminal offense. It seems that our government leaders are guilty of that with respect to the Palestinians.

    • Talkback
      January 23, 2016, 6:36 am

      Boomer “Just now I heard BBC report that a 14 year old Palestinian girl has been shot dead by Israelis.“because she attacked with a knife.”

      Yep, just another summary execution of Nonjews outside of Israel.

  5. Bumblebye
    January 23, 2016, 10:06 am

    I hope these children have a path to achieve their dreams. Really, I hope the occupation is over and done with before they reach adulthood. Stranger things have happened.

    On a side note, the daughter of a Mossad chief has become a refusenik:

    link to m.facebook.com

  6. Kathleen
    January 24, 2016, 1:12 pm

    I have avoided watching this video. Just did. Have read so much about how the occupation has traumatized children…Amazing these children can smile. Humans can be so resilient…

  7. Ossinev
    January 24, 2016, 1:36 pm

    What is missing here to be fair is the Israeli/Zionist side of the story which is that these children are not being brutalised , traumatised , treated like vermin , summarily executed at the whim of the IDF, Israeli Police , Settlement Security Guards and John Wayne wannabe settlers. THEY ARE BEING INCITED. Yes “incitement ” is definitely the new kid on the Hasbara block and that includes watching Palestinian Television whose stations are at risk of being closed downed at best or at worst bombed because of this blatant “incitement ”
    link to timesofisrael.com

    Yes it is now all about Palestinian “incitement”. Israeli Jews of course do not , have never and never will “incite” – and they most definitely did not incite anyone in their community to ignite any fellow human beings in the recent past

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