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Palestinian population hits 11.6 million on 65th anniversary of Nakba

Palestinian population hits 11.6 million on 65th anniversary of Nakba

In the wake of the 65th commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) announced detailed figures on the numbers of Palestinian refugees in occupied Palestine and the diaspora.

According to the statistics, the Palestinian population was 1.4 million and lived in 1,300 Palestinian towns and villages. More than 800,000 were driven out of their homeland into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab countries and other countries of the world.


Thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes but stayed within Israeli-controlled 1948 territory.

According to PCBS, there is documentary evidence that the Israelis controlled 774 towns and villages and destroyed 531 Palestinian others during the Nakba.

The atrocities of Israeli forces also included more than 70 massacres in which 15,000 Palestinians were killed.

According to statistics, the Palestinian population has increased eight-folds since the Nakba. It was exactly 1.37 million in 1948, but by the end of 2012 the estimated world population of Palestinians totaled 11.6 million.

This indicates that the number of Palestinians worldwide has multiplied eight fold in the 65 years since the Nakba.

The total number of Palestinians living in historic Palestine (all Palestine before the occupation) by the end of 2012 was 5.8 million and based on current growth rates this number is expected to rise to 7.2 million by the end of 2020.

The number of Palestinians in the current Palestinian territories was estimated at 4.4 million at the end of 2012; 2.7 million in the West Bank and 1.7 million in the Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinians in Jerusalem was around 400,000.

According to PCBS, UNRWA records show that there were 5.3 million Palestinian refugees registered in mid-2012, constituting 45.7 per cent of the total Palestinian population worldwide. They were distributed as 59 per cent living in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, 17 per cent in the West Bank, and 24 per cent in the Gaza Strip.

About 29 per cent of registered Palestinian refugees live in 58 refugee camps, of which 10 are in Jordan, nine in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank and eight in the Gaza Strip.

These estimates do not include Palestinians who were displaced between 1949 and the 1967 war, according to the UNRWA definition, and do not include the non-refugees who left or were forced to leave as a result of the war in 1967.

The number of Palestinians who remained in their homeland within 1948 territory following the Nakba was estimated at 154,000 persons, and is now estimated at 1.4 million.

PCBS definition of the word ‘Nakba’

Nakba: Ethnic cleansing and displacement of the population

Nakba in literary terms means a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake, volcano, or hurricane. However, the Nakba in Palestine describes a process of ethnic cleansing in which an unarmed nation has been destroyed and its population displaced to be systematically replaced by another nation. Unlike a natural catastrophe, the Palestinian Nakba was the result of a man-made military plan with the agreement of other states, leading to a major tragedy for the Palestinian people. The subsequent occupation of the remaining land of Palestine in 1967 resulted in additional tragedy.

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