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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.

Palestinian Refugees

Refers to Palestinians who were expelled or fled from their villages/towns as a result of the 1948 War or the 1967 War. The recorded number of first-generation Palestinian refugees depends on the source: 520,000 according to Israel; 726,000 according to the United Nations; and over 800,000 according to Arab sources. Including descendants, Palestinian refugees registered with the UN in 2010 numbered more than 4.3 million, with many of these refugees living in UN-administered refugee camps in Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel initially maintained that Palestinians fled of their own free will, or at the instructions of Arab leaders. Starting in the late 1970's, however, more critical narratives began to emerge from some former Israeli soldiers, academics and journalists, including an admission of Israeli-perpetrated mass expulsions. The rights of and future solutions for Palestinian refugees have been a sticking point in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with Israel stating refugees must relinquish claims to their pre-1948 and 1967 homes and Palestinians demanding a right of return for these refugees and/or formal acknowledgement from Israel that the Israeli state bears responsibility for the refugee crisis. UN Resolution 194 stipulated that refugees be allowed to return to their homes and lands and that the responsible governments should compensate all refugees for any destroyed property or for properties the refugees choose not to return to; Israel has rejected this resolution. See "Obstacles to Arab-Israeli peace: Palestinian refugees," Martin Asser, BBC, September 2, 2010.