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Over 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced after Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Hamas’ attack. With essential supplies running out, humanitarian agencies are warning of disease outbreaks in this densely populated area.

But this is not the first time that Palestinians have been forced to flee. A mass exodus occurred during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, which Palestinians call the Nakba, or the catastrophe. Another took place following the 1967 Arab–Israeli War – known as the Naksa, or the setback.

Today, there are some 5.9 million Palestinian refugees – nearly half of the global Palestinian population. University of Memphis anthropologist Michael Vicente Perez, who has been researching Palestinian displacement for the past 20 years, explains the daunting challenges they face as “stateless refugees denied the ability to return to their homeland or the right of compensation.”

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Kalpana Jain

Senior Religion + Ethics Editor/ Director of the Global Religion Journalism Initiative

Children sitting near their home at al-Shati camp for Palestinian refugees in the central Gaza Strip on June 20, 2020. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Gaza bombing adds to the generations of Palestinians displaced from their homes

Michael Vicente Perez, University of Memphis

A scholar who has studied Palestinian refugees for 20 years explains the history of their displacement and the stakes involved for those living in an indefinite exile.

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