Friday, May 19, 2006

Palestinians commemorates catastrophe day

On May 15, Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day, the day when Israel was declared a state atop the ruins of Palestinian homes and hundreds of ethnically cleansed towns and villages, 58 years ago. How many of us honestly remember it?

According to Palestinian official statistics, the number of Palestinians in the diaspora is estimated to be 5.1 million.

In a special report issued on the occasion of the 58th Anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCPS) said that the Palestinians who were expelled as a result of the Nakba is about 750,000 in addition to about 350,000 in 1967. They are mainly in Jordan (about 3 million), another 1.6 million stranded in other Arab countries and the rest in Western countries.

PCBS president Loay Shabaneh reported that the immediate results of the Nakba were the occupation of more than three quarters of Palestinian land, destruction of 531 localities and displacement and expulsion of about 85 per cent of the Palestinian population.

Based on United Nations record for the end of 2004, the number of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza totaled 4.2 million, many of whom live in 59 camps in various countries. The estimated number of Palestinians who remained in their homeland in the territories after the Nakba was 154,000 people, compared to 1.13 million in 1948.

About 25 per cent of the Palestinians in Israel were recently exposed to at least one kind of property confiscation.

The population of the Palestinian Territory is estimated to be 3.88 million in mid 2006, with 2.44 million in the West Bank and 1.44 million in the Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinian people in the Jerusalem governorate is 407,000 of which about 254,000 live in those parts of Jerusalem which were annexed by Israel in 1967.

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