Last updated on: 6/25/2008 2:08:00 PM PST

What Effect Did the War of 1948 Have on the Arab Palestinians?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Electronic Intifada, a website devoted to covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a pro-Palestinian perspective, posted a description of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War in the following terms on its website (accessed Apr. 19, 2007):

"Every year Palestinians commemorate the Nakba ('the catastrophe'): the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. In 1948 more than 60 percent of the total Palestinian population was expelled. More than 530 Palestinian villages were depopulated and completely destroyed. To date, Israel has prevented the return of approximately six million Palestinian refugees, who have either been expelled or displaced. Approximately 250,000 internally displaced Palestinian second-class citizens of Israel are prevented from returning to their homes and villages."

Apr. 19, 2007 - Electronic Intifada 

Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales-Australia, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East, Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 book A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, offered the following:

"The first Arab-Israeli war, in addition to securing the state of Israel, created about three-quarters of a million homeless Palestinian Arabs. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled from their homes, or were expelled, during the Jewish War of Independence. At the end of hostilities early in 1949, the United Nations estimated that there were 726,000 Arab refugees from Israeli-controlled territories, about 70 percent of the Arab population of Palestine. The exact number is difficult to determine because it is impossible to know the true number of Arab illegals living in Palestine when the war broke out and the number of Bedouin who had become refugees. A figure of about 600,000, to 760,000 is probably more accurate."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

Bernard Lewis, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, in his 1993 book The Arabs in History, wrote:

"In the course of the fighting, a large number of Palestinian Arabs, estimated by the U.N. Economic Survey Mission and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency at 726,000, fled or were driven from their homes -- claims and evidence are conflicting, but it seems likely that both descriptions are true of different places.

In this confusion and uncertainty, the fate of the Palestinian refugees was not different from that of countless millions of other refugees who fled or were driven from their homes in Eastern Europe, the Indian sub-continent, and elsewhere, in the brutal reshaping of the world after the ending of the Second World War. They differed from all these others in that they were neither repatriated nor resettled, but remained as refugees in camps. The one exception was Jordan. The Jordanians formally annexed the territories which they held west of the Jordan River, and offered citizenship to all Arab Palestinians. The Israeli did the same for the large numbers of Jews who had fled or been driven from Arab countries."

1993 - Bernard Lewis, PhD