Just the Facts: Right of Return

  • In 1948 over 1 million Palestinians, 73.2% of the native Palestinian Arab population, became refugees or IDPs.
  • More than half were driven out under direct military assault, while others fled after hearing of massacres committed in Palestinian towns such as Deir Yassin, Ad Dawayima, Eilaboun, Saliha, and Lydda.
  • More than 400 Palestinian cities and towns were systematically destroyed by Zionist and Israeli forces, while Jewish immigrants were quickly moved into Palestinian homes that remained.
  • In December 1948 the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which states, “refugees wishing to return to their homes…should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date” and calls for compensation to those that choose not to return and for damage to property.
  • The Palestinian right of return has repeatedly been confirmed by the UN General Assembly.
  • There are now at least 6.6 million refugees and 427,000 internally displaced persons, 67% of the Palestinian population as a whole.
  • More than 4.6 million Palestinian refugees live in camps in Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon.
  • An additional 60,000 Palestinians have been displaced in the West Bank due to home demolitions, revocation of residency rights, construction of illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian owned-land, the construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall.
  • Palestinian refugees are the largest and longest-standing population of displaced persons in the world.
  • In the over 70 years of Palestinian displacement, the UN has successfully repatriated refugees in numerous other conflicts, including Bosnia/Kosovo, Abkhazia/Georgia, Cyprus, Namibia/South Africa, and Iraq/Kuwait.


These facts come from:

Learning More 

To learn more you can read “Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return” from American Friends Service Committee. And we have a playlist of related videos on YouTube.