My research shows that Israel bought their land.Submitted by wraiththirteen on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 15:33
please keep the discussion civil.
A reliable account of the situation in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), which at that time was called Palestine, can be found in a 1937 report of the British Palestine Royal Commission which, as is well known, was not a friend of the Jews. The report says that the Hula Valley in the north of the country was infested with mosquitoes. The landowners were Syrians in Damascus, who leased out the marshes to Arab or Egyptian peasants (fellahs), who lived in primitive mud huts and inevitably fell sick with malaria.
The first thing the Jewish National Fund did in 1934 was to purchase 51 square miles of this marshland for 900,000 Palestinian pounds ($4.5 million) and set up 20 Jewish settlements on it. These Jews battled malaria, yellow fever and the Middle Eastern sun to drain the swamps and reclaim the land.
What the swamps were in the north, the desert, which had to be artificially irrigated, was in the south; and the center of the country was a stony, desolate wasteland. The Arab landlords, who lived abroad and owned large estates, did nothing to solve these problems.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire was in such a poor state after ruling over the Holy Land for 400 years (1517-1917), that wealthy Arab landowners from Syria, Egypt and Lebanon were able to kick out the fellahs and Bedouins and acquire enormous tracts of real estate. Then they made a huge profit by selling the land to Jews from Europe and America.
According to "Turkish government records, in 1915, 3,130,000 dunams of Palestinian land was owned by 144 Arab landowners; so on average, each family owned 22,000 dunams. From early times, the dunam was the only valid unit for measuring land area in Palestine. One dunam is 1,000 square meters and there are 4 dunams in an acre.
The farmers who leased the properties were forced to pay onerous interest rates to the Arab landlords of up to 60 percent, and many tenants were left destitute, losing both house and home. Ultimately, the Arab landowners drove out their Muslim brothers so that they could sell the land for large amounts of money to the Jews.
The Jewish National Fund set up blue and white (Israel's national colors) collection boxes all over the world and received generous contributions from Jewish patrons, which were used to buy property in the Holy Land. Of the 429,887 dunams that the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association purchased from private owners, 293,54 dunams almost 70 percent-was uncultivated land that Arab proprietors living abroad had sold to Jews.
By 1937, the amount purchased by Jews increased to 579,492 dunams, and by 1948 almost 80 percent of the land available for sale had been bought up by the Jewish people. The rest of the land was ownerless desert, which was taken over by Israel after the establishment of the state.
When the League of Nations handed the mandate over to Britain in 1922, it stipulated firmly in Article 6 that the "Palestine administration should work together with the Jewish Agency to encourage intensive settlement of the land by Jews, which should include the land owned by the state and the uncultivated or waste land, as long as this land is not needed for official purposes."
It is astonishing that nowadays nobody seems to be interested in the facts. While everyone has an opinion about this conflict, few take the trouble to check out how the Land of Israel legally became Jewish property. People prefer to embrace the stereotypical Palestinian lies which accuse the Jewish state of forcibly driving the Palestinians out of their homes, although this was mostly done by Arab landlords who cared nothing about "Palestine." Today, the Arab world is trying to push the "crimes" of their ancestors, who effectively "sold out" Palestine 80 years ago, onto the Jews and the State of Israel.
The Ottoman Land Code of 1858 "brought about the appropriation by the influential and rich families of Beirut, Damascus, and to a lesser extent Jerusalem and Jaffa and other sub-district capitals, of vast tracts of land in Syria and Palestine and their registration in the name of these families in the land registers". Many of the fellahin did not understand the importance of the registers and therefore the wealthy families took advantage of this. Jewish buyers who were looking for large tracts of land found it favorable to purchase from the wealthy owners. As well many small farmers became in debt to rich families which lead to the transfer of land to the new owners and then eventually to the Jewish buyers.
In 1918, after the British conquest of Palestine, the military administration closed the Land Register and prohibited all sale of land. The Register was reopened in 1920, but to prevent speculation and insure a livelihood for the fellahin, an edict was issued forbidding the sale of more than 300 dunams of land or the sale of land valued at more than 3000 Palestine pounds without the approval of the High Commissioner.
From the 1880s to the 1930s, most Jewish land purchases were made in the coastal plain, the Jezreel Valley, the Jordan Valley and to a lesser extent the Galilee. This was due to a preference for land that was cheap and without tenants. There were two main reasons why these areas were sparsely populated. The first reason being when the Ottoman power in the rural areas began to diminish in the seventeenth century, many people moved to more centralized areas to secure protection against the lawless Bedouin tribes. The second reason for the sparsely populated areas of the coastal plains was the soil type. The soil, covered in a layer of sand, made it impossible to grow the staple crop of Palestine, corn. As a result this area remained uncultivated and under populated. "The sparse Arab population in the areas where the Jews usually bought their land enabled the Jews to carry out their purchase without engendering a massive displacement and eviction of Arab tenants".
In the 1930s most land was bought from small landowners. Of the land that the Jews bought, "52.6% of the lands were bought from big non-Palestinian landowners, 24.6% from Palestinian-Arab landowners and only 9.4% from the Fellahin".