Areej Sabbagh-Khoury
The Palestinian Arabs constituted a majority of the population in Palestine before 1948, numbering approxi¬mately 1,300,000 people. There were 874,000 to 940,000 Palestinians who lived on the eighty percent of historic Pal¬estine that became Israel (Rouhana, 1997). The Nakba (or “catastrophe”) of 1948 resulted in the dispossession and ex¬pulsion of 714,150 to 744,150 Palestinian Arabs, or eighty to eighty-four percent of the Palestinian population. These people were dispossessed of their lands and became refu¬gees.1 The refugee population consisted of three different groups: 390,000 rural inhabitants, 254,000 urban residents, and 70,000 to 100,000 semi-nomadic Bedouins (Khalidi, 1992). Almost overnight, the bulk of the Palestinian population was displaced. The 156,000 Palestinians who remained in the part of Palestine now called Israel became a minority in an exclusively Jewish state. Between twenty-five to thirty percent of the Palestinians who remained became internally displaced persons (Wakim, 2001).2 


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