FILE: Palestinians marking the Nakba in an annual march near the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, on May 9, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Palestinian people multiplied 9 times since 1948 Nakba

RAMALLAH, 13 May 2020 (WAFA) — On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary for the Palestinian exile and expulsion from their homes and land in Palestine on May 15, 1948 in what is now known as the Nakba, or catastrophe, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said that the Palestinian population has multiplied nine times since the 1948 Nakba.

The Nakba resulted in the displacement of 800,000 Palestinians out of the 1.4 million Palestinians who lived in historical Palestine in 1948 in 1,300 villages and towns. The majority of the displaced Palestinians ended up in neighboring Arab countries and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and other countries in the world. Furthermore, thousands of Palestinians — who stayed in the area controlled by the Israeli occupation in 1948 — were driven out of their homes and lands, which were seized by the occupation.

According to the documentary evidence, the Israel occupation controlled 774 towns and villages and destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages during the Nakba. The atrocities of Zionist forces also included more than 70 massacres in which more than 15,000 Palestinians were killed.

The population of Palestine in 1914 was around 690,000; of whom only 8% were Jewish, said the PCBS. In 1948, the number of Palestinians in Palestine exceeded 2 million; 31.5% of them were Jews as the number of Jews doubled more than six times during this period. Between 1932 and 1939, the largest number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine reached 225,000 Jews. Between 1940 and 1947, more than 93,000 Jews poured into Palestine. Palestine received around 318,000 Jews between 1932 and 1947 and 540,000 from 1948 to 1975.

Despite the expulsion of more than 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, and the displacement of more than 200,000 Palestinians (majority of them to Jordan) after the 1967 war, the Palestinian world population totalled 13.4 million by the end of 2019, which means that the number of Palestinians in the world has doubled more than nine times since the events of the Nakba of 1948, and more than half of them live in historical Palestine by the end of 2019, where their number reached 6.64 million (1.60 million in the territories occupied in 1948).

Population estimates indicated that the number of population by the end of 2019 in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, was 3.02 million and around 2.02 million in Gaza Strip. As for the population of Jerusalem Governorate, it was about 457,000 people of which approximately 65% (about 295,000 people) live in those parts of Jerusalem which were annexed by Israeli occupation in 1967 (J1). Hence, data showed that Palestinians represented 49.7% of the population living in historical Palestine, while Jews constituted 50.3% by the end of 2019.

The Israeli occupation continues its control over 85% of the area of historical Palestine, which amounts to 27,000 square kilometers (km2). The remaining areas continue to endure further attempts of usurpation and control. It should be noted that Jews under the British Mandate used only 1,682 km2 of historical land of historical Palestine which represents 6.2%.

Records of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees reported on 2019 that the total number of Palestinian refugees was around 5.6 million, 28.4% of whom live in 58 camps (10 in Jordan, 9 in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank and 8 in Gaza Strip).

Estimates, however, indicated that this is the minimum number of refugees since many of them are not registered. This number does not include the Palestinians displaced in the period from 1949 till the June 1967 war. The UNRWA definition of refugees does not cover Palestinians who migrated or those who were displaced after 1967 because of the war and who were not registered refugees.