A Stroll Through the Balata Refugee Camp

Nablus hosts the Balata Refugee Camp. With more than 23,000 registered refugees, it’s the largest United Nations-administered refugee camp in the West Bank, and it’s now 63 years old. While most Palestinians would disagree, some point out that Israel has had many refugees and assimilated them into their prosperous society while Palestine — and the Arab world — keeps the West Bank refugee camps in squalor in order to stir public opinion against Israel. Others point to the horrible conditions here as an example of the injustice Palestinians are living with every day. Regardless of your perspective, one thing is true: In 1948, when the families now living in Balata left their homes in Israel, they thought it would be for a short time. They locked up and took their keys. They still keep those keys — and they still hope to return.

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