Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1948 Palestinian Exodus

1948 Palestinian Exodus

The 1948 Palestinian exodus (Arabic: الهجرة الفلسطينية‎, al-Hijra al-Filasīnīya), also known as al Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎, an-Nakbah), meaning the "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm",occurred when between 650,000 and 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes by Jewish or Israeli forces, during the creation of the state of Israel and the civil war that preceded it. The term "Nakba" was first used in this way by Syrian historian Constantine Zureiq in his 1948 book, Ma'na al-Nakba (The Meaning of the Disaster).

Nur-eldeen Masalha writes that over 80 percent of the Arab inhabitants of the area that became Israel left their towns and villages. Jewish advances, such as that on Haifa, fears of a massacre after Deir Yassin, and a collapse in Palestinian leadership caused many to leave out of panic, while most of those who remained were expelled by Jewish soldiers or, later, the Israeli government. A series of laws passed by the first Israeli government prevented them from returning to their homes, or claiming their property. They and many of their descendants remain refugees.

During the 1949 Lausanne conference, Israel proposed allowing 100,000 of the refugees to return to the area, though not necessarily to their homes, The figure included 25,000 who had returned surreptitiously and thousands of special family-reunion cases, reducing the offer to 65,000 – 70,000. The proposal was conditional on allowing Israel to retain the territory it had taken, and on the Arab states absorbing the remaining 550,000 – 650,000 refugees. The Arab states rejected the proposal because it was “less than token,” and because they argued the “Jews cannot oppose large numbers of refugees on economic grounds while encouraging mass immigration of Jews (to Israel).”

The status of the refugees, and in particular whether they have a right to return to their homes or be compensated, are key issues in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The events of 1948 are commemorated by Palestinians every 15 May, on what has become known as Nakba Day.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

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