Background of Palestinian 'nakba'

AP News
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Posted: May 15, 2011 12:46 PM
Background of Palestinian 'nakba'

Palestinians marked May 15, the anniversary of creation of the state of Israel, with "nakba" demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Here are some key points:

_"Nakba" is the Arabic word for "catastrophe."

_Palestinians regard the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 a catastrophe because hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes during the two-year war that followed.

_Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees still live in camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Only Jordan has offered them citizenship.

_Estimates of the number of Palestinian refugees and their descendants range from 5 to 7 million.

_Palestinians demand the "right of return" of all the refugees and their descendants to their original homes in present-day Israel.

_Israel has offered to take in a small number of refugees but insists that the rest must be resettled in a Palestinian state that will be created in a peace accord or in the countries where they now live.

_The refugee issue is one of the toughest in Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations.