A reminder of Palestinians’ sometimes bloody national struggle is never far away in Dheisheh. Just outside the girls’ school is a graffiti mural of Ayat Al Akhras, who on March 29, 2002 at the age of 18 became the youngest female Palestinian suicide bomber. Born in Dheisheh, Akhras killed two Israelis — one of them a 17-year-old girl.
Bissan Abu Ajamia graduated from Dheisheh Basic Girls School, and says she has spent her life since trying to avoid politics.
“I just want to get married and have babies,” said the 21-year-old who is studying to become a special education teacher.
But things haven’t worked out the way Abu Ajamia had hoped.
On the day of her engagement party six months ago, she said Israeli soldiers burst into her home and took away her fiance after protesting. He remains in prison. Two of her younger brothers have been shot by Israeli soldiers who make frequent raids and incursions in the camp, according to Abu Ajamia.
She sees UNRWA as essential in maintaining a modicum of calm.
“It is the shelter of all refugees. If the schools close kids will be on the streets,” Abu Ajamia said. “These efforts against UNRWA will only cause more violence.”
F. Brinley Bruton and Lawahez Jabari reported from the West Bank, Paul Goldman from Tel Aviv, and Andy Eckardt from Mainz, Germany.