Friends of Bethlehem members Ken and James Enderby were witnesses to a tear gas attack by Israeli forces in Bethlehem last Thursday (January 9th). This is how Ken described the attack:
“We were buying some handicrafts in a shop near the so-called ‘Separation Wall’, when we heard the sounds of tear gas grenades being fired.
My son James and I followed the wall until we reached the Aida [pronounced ‘eye-dah’] refugee camp, perhaps 200 metres away. From our vantage point in a cemetery, we watched about two dozen Israeli soldiers move through the refugee camp firing tear gas grenades at a group Palestinian young people.
‘Clashes in Aida Refugee Camp’, West Bank, 29 November 2013, Photographer Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Activestills.org
We did not see the Palestinians throwing stones at the troops, though this might have happened before we arrived. All we saw was them waving flags. Some of these people were on the roof of a nearby building, again waving flags. The Israeli response was to fire tear gas canisters onto the roof, thereby dispersing them. James took this photo:
Tear gas covering streets of Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, West Bank, 9 January 2014. Photo by James Enderby.
After we had been there for fifteen minutes, the air was becoming thick with tear gas so we decided to leave before the gas started to affect us.
As we were making our way back to the shop, James wondered aloud what the purpose of the attack was. ‘These people are on the other [West Bank] side of the wall. What possible threat could they be to Israel?’ It was a very good question, and one for which I had no answer.
Such is the contradiction of current day Israel. Such is the life of a Palestinian in Bethlehem.”
‘Clashes in Aida Refugee Camp’, West Bank, 27 November 2013, Photographer Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Activestills.org
Bethlehem and Bayt Jayla. Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem is centre of the photo west (west of Rachel’s tomb). Base map sourced from Americans for Peace Now: Maps . Text Stewart Mills. See also FOB map December 2011, FOB WB map June 2012). Note Checkpoint 300 (See FOB MArch 2012); Church of the Nativity – FOB June 2012; Settlements surrounding Bethlehem FOB July 2012).
Mohammad Al Azzeh, ‘Clashes of Aida Camp 16.1.2013′, Lajee Center, Uploaded 20 January 2014
SteveLeicesterUK, ‘The wall by Aida Refugee Camp Bethlehem’, Uploaded on Dec 5, 2007.
The Apartheid Wall by Aida Refugee camp on the Northern edge of Bethlehem. On one side the crowded camp. On the other the olive groves stolen from Bethlehemites in which the children of the camp used to play.
‘Aida’ – means “return”, as in the right to return.
UNRWA school playground ‘A day in Aida refugee camp’ http://www.unrwa.org/galleries/photos/day-aida-refugee-camp
Bethlehem 8 December 2013
Non-violent protests were held in five West Bank villages, Friday, as well as in the city of Bethlehem, where Israeli troops attacked protesters and wounded one young man in the leg with a live bullet.
IMEMC & Agencies Report, Two Palestinians Kidnapped In Bethlehem Thursday January 02, 2014 [Thursday January 2, 2014] http://www.imemc.org/article/66670
Aida Refugee Camp Profile http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/opt_campprof_unrwa_aida_oct_2008.pdf
History of Aida Refugee Camp