All refugees have an internationally recognized right to return to areas from which they have fled or were forced, to receive compensation for damages, and to either regain their properties or receive compensation and support for voluntary resettlement.
In 2001, the Palestinian population worldwide was estimated by the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) at almost 9.4 million
About 93% of Palestinians are Muslim, of the Sunni (orthodox) sect, and about 6% are Christian. A very small number of Samaritans - adherents of an early form of Judaism - live around Nablus, in the West Bank.
The Palestinians are represented in the international arena by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), founded in 1964 by the Arab League (the regional organization which now includes 22 Arab states and the PLO).
The Palestinian Authority (or "PA" - which the Palestinians have renamed the "Palestinian National Authority" or "PNA") was created through the Oslo Accords of 1993 - a series of agreements concluded between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has no military as such. It has no army, navy, or air force.
Israel's military is one of the most advanced and powerful forces in the world. (photo: ActiveStills)
Photo: Palestinian local elections, West Bank (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ActiveStills)
Palestinian political life is rich and diverse, with a multitude of groups and tendencies. Perhaps the four most significant secular political groups after Fatah are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Democratic Union (FIDA), and the Palestinian People's Party (PPP) photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ActiveStills