chapter  4
38 Pages

After al-Nakbah

The Palestinian Diaspora, 1948–1993
WithSamih K. Farsoun, Naseer H. Aruri

Al-Nakbah meant the destruction of Arab Palestinian society and patrimony and Palestinians’ dispossession, dispersal, and destitution. This destruction was largely the result of Zionist policy and the tactics of expulsion in order to secure as much as possible of the land of Palestine for a Jewish state without indigenous Arab Palestinians. Of the total land of Palestine, the Israelis captured over 76 percent; the UN partition plan allotted them 55 percent. Map 4.1 shows Israel’s 1949 cease-fire “borders,” officially recognized as Israel by most governments, before further conquest and expansion during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. From an estimated total population of 900,000 Palestinians in the areas occupied by Israel in 1947–1948, 750,000 to 800,000 became refugees. 1 In a matter of a few weeks in the spring of 1948, Palestine, a complex, developing, and differentiated society, was abruptly and haphazardly segmented, most of its people were dispossessed, and their lives were completely disrupted.