Shu'fat Camp

Shu'fat camp is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Israeli settlement Pisgat Zeev, illegal under international law, is located to the camp’s north. The camp was established by UNRWA in 1965 in order to provide improved housing for the roughly 500 refugee families living in Mu'askar camp in the Old City of Jerusalem. Today, approximately 12,500 Palestine refugees are registered as living in Shu'fat camp. However, UNRWA estimates that the actual number of residents in the camp is around 24,000.

Shu'fat refugee camp. Photo by Christoph von Toggenburg
Shu'fat refugee camp. Photo by Christoph von Toggenburg

Shu'fat camp was illegally annexed by Israel after the 1967 hostilities when Israel unilaterally established new municipal boundaries for Jerusalem. Camp residents still hold Jerusalem IDs and, unlike West Bank ID holders, are allowed to reside in Jerusalem. Because the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has a policy of revoking Jerusalem IDs from Palestinians who do not have their ‘centre of life’ in Jerusalem, the camp has become a popular place of residence for Palestinians (non-refugees) with Jerusalem IDs who might not otherwise afford the high living costs of Jerusalem.

Shu'fat refugee camp. Photo by Christoph von Toggenburg
Shu'fat refugee camp. Photo by Christoph von Toggenburg

This has contributed to the extreme overcrowding in the camp. In 2003, Israel began the construction of the West Bank Barrier in East Jerusalem, routing it so that Shu'fat camp and surrounding areas ended up on the ‘West Bank side’ of the Barrier. This cut off Shu'fat residents from East Jerusalem. Today, residents have to pass through a crowded checkpoint to access Jerusalem.

Read more about Shu'fat refugee camp


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 Lydd, Jerusalem, 30 villages in Ramleh, Gaza and the area west of Hebron

Official camps

  • Shu'fat camp was established in 1965
  • It sits on 0.2 sq km, with an estimated population density of 50,000 per sq km
Unrwa In Shu'fat Camp


  • Three schools serve around 1,500 students

Health Centre

  • One health centre provides primary health care including reproductive health, infant and child care, immunizations, screening and medical check-ups and treatment