Burj Shemali Camp is located three kilometers east of the coastal city of Tyre, about 80 km from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and about 24 km from the Palestinian-Lebanese border. It was established in 1955 on an area of wasteland covered with rocks, balsam plants, leased by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for 99 years. It is the second largest Palestinian camps in southern Lebanon. It was named after the adjacent Lebanese town of Burj Shemali. This camp
It is bordered to the north by the Shirnai farm and the orchards area, to the west by the Al-Ma’shouq community for Palestinian refugees, to the south by the town of Burj Shemali, and to the north by the Al-Ramali area and citrus orchards. The area of the camp is 13,600 square meters, equivalent to 13.6 dunum.
UNRWA ‘s latest statistics note that the camp’s population is estimated at 19,500 registered refugees, while some estimates indicate that there are 25,000. The origins of most of the population belong to the villages of northern Palestine, such as (Al-Na’meh, Al-Husayniyyah, Hittin, Hawasa, Al-Khalisa, Al-Khasas, Deir Al-Qasi, Dishum, Al-Zouq Al-Tahtani, Al-Zouq Al-Fawqani, Sa’sa’, Sha’ab, Saffurya, Al-Ksayer, Lubyeh)..
The camp has a single point of access, which is supervised by a Lebanese army checkpoint that monitors the movement of cars entering and leaving. All of the side entrances are closed by the Lebanese army with earthen mounds and cement blocks, which causes confusion for students who attend some private schools near the camp, as well as causing trouble to agricultural workers and residents who shop, whether from the camp or the neighboring Lebanese areas.
The camp is known as the Martyrs’ Camp because of the more than 125 martyrs it offered, mostly women and children, during the “Israeli” invasion to Lebanon in 1982. During the invasion, the (Zionist) aircrafts bombed two shelters, Al-Najda, and the shelter of the Jabal Amel Foundation, which led to massacre among the unarmed refugees. In the place of the massacre, the residents erected two memorials bearing the names of the victims. Among the heroic epics witnessed by the Burj Shemali camp was the great battle fought by the local fighting groups, which managed to capture four Israeli soldiers at the southern outskirts of the camp. Two of them were injured during the battle.
There are two domestic committees in Burj al-Shamali camp. The Popular Committee: It represents the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is concerned with the social, administrative and livelihood affairs of the camp. The Civil Committee: It serves as a parallel committee and civil society framework. This committee includes a group of independent activists as well as representatives of the factions of the Palestinian Coalition. This committee aims to offer various services to households in the camp.