Monday is the day Palestinians mark the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionist militias before, during and after the founding of Israel in 1948.
Between 1947 and 1949, more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed by Zionist militias creating the Jewish-majority state of Israel and quite literally wiping Palestine off the map.
In violation of every norm of international law and of UN resolutions, Israel has for decades actively blocked these refugees and their descendents from returning to their homes.
According to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, they now number more than five million people living in refugee camps in historic Palestine and in the surrounding countries. Palestinian diaspora communities exist all over the world.
Israel’s laws, which a recent landmark UN report said meet the international definition of apartheid, block the return of Palestinian refugees for one reason alone: they are not Jewish.
The importance of this new infographic is that it illustrates how possible return would be in practice.
Many Palestinian homes emptied by Zionist militias – especially in cities – were stolen and given to new Jewish settlers.
The Jerusalem residence of The New York Times bureau chief, for example, is on the property where renowned Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi grew up. Her acclaimed memoir, In Search of Fatima, recounts how she had to flee as a child with her family in the shadow of massacres by Zionist militias.
However, as this chart shows, the vast majority of 536 towns and villages from which Palestinians fled or were expelled remain empty to this day.
Abu Sitta is an occasional contributor to The Electronic Intifada.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Nakba next year, remember that there is nothing stopping Palestinian refugees returning from their enforced exile except for Israeli racism.