GEZIRAT AL-FADEL, Egypt -- In 1948, Suleiman Mamoudi fled by foot with his parents and other families from their village of Bir el-Sabae in Palestine. The 28-year-old and his family walked west for several hundred miles, crossing the Sinai Peninsula before settling in an area around 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Cairo.

They had not planned to stay long in Egypt's Sharqiya province, until they found themselves unable to return home after the Jewish takeover of their city, renamed Beersheba.

Mamoudi, now 93 years old, is among some 3,000 Palestinians living in the impoverished village of Gezirat al-Fadel. He spends his days sitting on a cushion on the ground outside his sparsely furnished two-bedroom, mud brick home. The dirt roads make it difficult for him to walk with his cane.

He lives with his 13 children and 28 grandchildren. Like his neighbors, they sleep on mats spread in the corridors of the house.

His neighbor, Khadra Mohammed, 52, lives in a 540 sq. foot (50 sq. meter) mud brick house with 19 of her family members. Inside one of the rooms is a rickety bed and a fan hanging from a ceiling covered with spider webs.

Mamoudi has seen three generations of Palestinians from Bir el-Sabae born here without access to free education and health care, a right afforded to Egyptians. He says their plight is forgotten and the area they live in ignored.

As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps there, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinians in the country assistance.

For residents here, there is no foreseeable return from the "nakba" or "catastrophe" – the term they use to describe when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes during the fighting.

The Palestinians of Gezirat al-Fadel have had to fend for themselves, and are not allowed to hold public sector jobs.

The vast majority of adults and children are illiterate, unable to afford even the low-cost of a nearby government-run school. Many of the children, barefoot with torn clothes, spend their days helping adults sift through garbage to find what can be recycled, one of the few ways to earn a meager living in this tiny village.

Others work in nearby farms and are paid in wheat grains for their work. The women then sift the wheat and grind it by hand to make bread.

A typical home has a roof made out of straw and palm leaves. Some families have old refrigerators, while others do not. The homes have no kitchens, so women cook on small, portable gas stove top burners. They rock toddlers to sleep in a blanket that is tied from all four corners by a rope slung over the shoulder.

They are a tightknit community and intermarriage between first cousins is common, leading to birth defects among many of the village's children. One family has two deaf children, but lacks the funds to offer the young girls the special care they require.

While many know nothing more of life beyond Gezirat al-Fadel, they say they have not lost their connection to Bir el-Sabae. They say they dream of returning to their land in hopes of living a more dignified life and leaving behind this almost forgotten corner of Egypt, a nation already burdened by a population boom and widespread poverty.

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  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, Palestinian refugee Sulaiman al-Namodi, 92, sits outside of his house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinians in Gezirat al-Fadel assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, Palestinian refugee children play next to a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinians in Gezirat al-Fadel assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a boy stands outside one of two bedrooms in a house of Palestinian refugee Khadra Mohammed, 52, where she lives with 19 people in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, two Palestinian refugee children lean on the wall of a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a Palestinian refugee family sits outside of their house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, an elderly Palestinian refugee woman feeds a baby suffering from heat rash in a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, two Palestinian refugee children sit in the window sill of a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, Palestinian refugees sit in front of a bicycle repair shop in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, an elderly Palestinian refugee sits at the entrance of her house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a Palestinian refugee holds her baby as she stands in front of her house at Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a Palestinian refugee sifts wheat for making bread, in her house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a barefoot Palestinian refugee carries her sister outside their family's house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a barefoot Palestinian refugee stands by a mud wall in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, a Palestinian refugee prepares food as her children sit next to her in their house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, Palestinian refugees sit on plastic sacks of garbage outside a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • In this Friday, May 17, 2013 photo, Palestinian refugee Ahmed Sameer, 10, poses for a photograph in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. As Palestinians around the world recently marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel's 1948 creation, the refugees in Gezirat al-Fadel say they have it worse than others who fled to Jordan, Syria or Lebanon. Unlike the millions who live in refugee camps in those countries, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does not have offices in Egypt and so does not offer Palestinian refugees in Egypt assistance. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)