Dheisheh Camp

Dheisheh camp was established in 1949 and is located along the main street in Bethlehem. The camp was built to serve 3,000 refugees. Today, the number of residents in Dheisheh has reached roughly 15,000.

Dheisheh refugee camp. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Dominiek Benoot
Dheisheh refugee camp. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Dominiek Benoot

The Israeli security forces (ISF) fenced in the entire camp during the first intifada, leaving a small turnstile as the only entrance and isolating the camp from the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron. The fence has since been removed, and the turnstile is no longer in use, though it is still visible at the camp entrance. During the second intifada, Israeli forces conducted incursions, house and arrest campaigns, and put the camp under prolonged curfews. Many of Dheisheh’s older male residents were arrested during the first and second intifadas. Despite being under full Palestinian control (Area A), the ISF still conducts frequent incursions and arrests inside the camp.

Dheisheh camp has a very active civil society with many community-based organizations (CBOs).

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We provide services in 19 Palestine refugee camps in the West Bank. UNRWA does not administer or police the camps, as this is the responsibility of the host authorities.

Quick Facts

Refugees in camps

  • They originate from 45 villages in western Jerusalem and the area west of Hebron

Official camps

  • Dheisheh camp was established in 1949
  • It sits on 0.33 sq km, with an estimated population density of 45,454 per sq km
Unrwa In Dheisheh Camp


  • Four schools serve around 2,150 students

Health Centre

  • One health centre serves the refugees in the camp and in the surrounding areas