Commemorating the 64 anniversary of the Nakba . Nakba means “Catastrophe” in Arabic. It refers to the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 when more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced into exile by Israeli troops. Because the Palestinians were not Jewish, their presence and predominant ownership of the land were obstacles to the creation of a Jewish state. Nakba, was already nearly half-complete by May 1948, when Israel declared its independence and the Arab states entered the fray. Many Zionist leaders in Palestine openly favored “transfer" of the indigenous Palestinian population. Zionist forces used clashes that erupted as the British Mandate of Palestine came to an end in 1947-48 to rid as much of the land of its Palestinian inhabitants as possible. By the end of 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians - two-thirds of the Palestinian population - fled in panic or were forcibly expelled. It is estimated that more than 50 percent fled under direct military assault. Others fled in panic as news of massacres - more than 100 civilians in the village of Deir Yassin and 200 in Tantura — spread. Zionist forces depopulated more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages, most of which were demolished to prevent the return of the refugees. (Figures of the number of towns and villages destroyed and depopulated vary. The Israeli daily Haaretzreports 530 lost villages.) These comprised three-quarters of the Palestinian villages inside the areas held by Israeli forces after the end of the war. The newly established Israeli government confiscated refugees’ land and properties and turned them over to Jewish immigrants. Although Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about 33 percent of the population, Israel was established on 78 percent of Palestine. Today, Israel uprooted an estimated 1.37 million Palestinians from their lands and homes in 1948, the Bureau says the population had increased eight times by the end of 2011 and they’re waiting for the day of the return as they keep their house keys that was taken from them .