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As Israelis mark the 66th anniversary of their state’s creation, Palestinians commemorate the same moment as the Nakba (“catastrophe”), when more than half of the Palestinian population fled from homes and land inside what is today Israel to become refugees. More than 400 villages and towns were depopulated. Today, millions of descendants of those refugees live in permanent camps in neighboring countries, as well as in Gaza and the West Bank.
U.N. resolution 194, adopted on Dec. 11, 1948, established the right of those Palestinian refugees to return to their homes — homes that in most cases no longer exist, as Israel was built over their ruins. Despite years of peace negotiations, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have never gotten close to agreeing a solution the question of the refugees’ right of return — a core issue in the conflict and a burden on neighboring nations.
Jordan has the largest population of Palestinian refugees, with more than 2 million people and 10 recognized camps. Syria's war has recently drawn attention to Yarmouk camp in Damascus. Tens of thousands of refugees were trapped in the camp, cut off from aid, leaving many in starvation.
There are almost 2 million Palestinians internally displaced in Gaza and the West Bank. The map below shows all Palestinian refugee camps officially recognized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).