In 1948, 78% of historic Palestinian land was seized for the establishment of the state of Israel. During the war, 530 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed, thousands were killed, and 75% of the Palestinian population fled. Approximately 750,000 Palestinians lost their homes in the war and became refugees. Evidence from Israeli military archives shows that the policy of the Zionist forces was to deliberately expel Palestinians from their homes. This is classified as ethnic cleansing under International Law.
Many massacres were committed by the Zionist forces, including the massacre at Deir Yassin where approximately 250 women, children and men were killed in what began as a dawn raid and lasted two days. Eliyahu Arbel, from the Zionist Harganah gang, spoke about Deir Yassin saying, “I have seen a great deal of war …but I never saw a site like Deir Yassin.”
The Nakba (Arabic for Catastrophe), marked the birth of the state of Israel. The Palestinian refugee crisis was born in this war, and to this day, the majority of Palestinians remain refugees.