The Palestinian refugee problem arose from a systematic policy of ethnic dispossession and elimination, the results of which are apparent in the Palestinian refugee camps and in the Palestinian shatat (exile). These policies continue to this day.
Zionist policy sought to create an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine, a region that already had an indigenous population with a history stretching back thousands of years. The characterization of Palestine as "a land without a people for a people without a land" was a myth created to suggest that Palestine was waiting to be populated. Nothing was further from the truth and this has been evidenced by the atrocities of 1948 and since.
Adapted from The Palestinian Dispossession - Frequently Asked Questions
May 15, 2003 By MIFTAH
Badil Resource Center for Refugee Rights
Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding
Shaml - Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
U.S. Committee for Refugees