The Shuafat refugee camp is the only Palestinian refugee camp within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. The camp was built in 1965 to provide housing to Palestinian refugees from 1948, who lived in crowded conditions in the al-Muaskar refugee camp in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. The camp was annexed to Jerusalem after the new boundaries of the city were drawn at the end of the Six-Day War. Today the camp has almost doubled its original size. It borders in the west with the neighborhood of Shuafat, in the north with Pisgat Ze'ev, in the south with French Hill and in the east with the planned expansion of Maale Adumim, E1.
The Shuafat refugee camp, originally built to house 1500 refugees, currently has more than 20,000 residents. Nearly 50% of the camp's residents have the status of "permanent resident" and blue Israeli identity cards. Although the Shuafat refugee camp is located inside Jerusalem, the camp has a de facto ex-territorial status. Here, Israeli sovereignty in East Jerusalem is the most fictitious of all. The camp is actually administered by UNRWA and almost all services are provided to the residents by this organization, except for some health services Israel delivers through clinics in the camp. As a whole, Israeli presence in the Shuafat refugee camp is limited to Israeli checkpoints controlling the entrances and exits of the camp, Border Police raids on the camp and tax collection. The standard of infrastructures and municipal services in the camp is the poorest in Jerusalem. In addition, conditions for the residents of the camp have been deteriorating dramatically since the separation fence was built.
Today, the separation barrier encircles the Shuafat refugee camp from the south, the north and the west (see map). It actually separates the refugee camp and its 20,000 residents from Jerusalem. This is a prime example of the fact that some segments of the fence route were planned and built not only out of security considerations but also political and demographic considerations. Likewise, other neighborhoods were excluded from Jerusalem, such as Kufr Aqab. The practical consequence is that the Jerusalem Municipality does not attend to these neighborhoods at all, even though they officially fall under its responsibility.