Monday, May 18, 2015

Land Ownership in Palestine 1880-1948

Land Ownership in Palestine  1880-1948
by  Moshe  Aumann
A great deal has been spoken and written over the years on the
subject  of  land  ownership  in  Israel—or,  before 1948,  Palestine.
Arab propaganda, in particular, has been at pains to convince the
world,  with  the  aid  of  copious  statistics,  that  the  Arabs  "own"
Palestine,  morally  and  legally,  and  that  whatever  Jewish  land
ownership there may be is negligible.  From this conclusions have
been  drawn (or implied)  with regard to the sovereign rights of
the State of Israel and the problem of the Arab refugees.

The  Arab case against  Israel,  in  the  matter  of  Jewish  land
purchases,  rests  mainly  on  two  claims: (1)  that  the  Palestinian
Arab farmer was peacefully and contentedly working his land in
the latter part of the 19th century and  the early part of the 20th
when along came the European Jewish immigrant, drove him off
his  land,  disrupted  the  normal  development  of  the  country  and
created a vast class of landless, dispossessed Arabs; (2) that a small
Jewish  minority, owning an even smaller proportion  of Palestinian
lands   (5 per cent as against the Arabs' 95 per cent), illegally made
itself master of Palestine in 1948.

Our purpose in this pamphlet is to set the record straight by
marshalling the  facts  and figures pertaining  to  this  very  complex
subject, on the basis of the most reliable and authoritative information
available, and to trace the history of modern  Jewish  resettlement
purely from the point of view of the sale and purchase of land.
Pre-1948  Conditions  in  Palestine
A study of  Palestine under Turkish  rule reveals  that already  at
the beginning of the 18th century, long before Jewish land purchases
and  large-scale Jewish  immigration  started,  the  position  of  the
Palestinian  fellah (peasant)  had begun to deteriorate. The heavy
burden  of  taxation,  coming on  top  of  chronic  indebtedness  to
money-lenders, drove a growing number of farmers to place them-
selves  under  the  protection  of  men  of  wealth  or  of  the  Moslem
religious  endowment  fund (Waqf),  with  the  result  that  they were
eventually compelled to give up their title to the land, if not their actual residence upon and cultivation of it.

Until the passage of the Turkish Land Registry Law in 1858,
there were no official deeds to attest to a man's legal title to a parcel
of land; tradition alone had to suffice to establish such title— and
usually  it did.  And yet,  the  position  of  Palestine's  farmers was  a
precarious one, for there were constant blood-feuds between families,
clans and entire villages, as well as periodic incursions by rapacious
Bedouin tribes, such as the notorious Ben Sakk'r, of whom H. B.
Tristram (The Land of Israel: A Journal of Travels in Palestine,
Society  for  Promoting Christian  Knowledge, London, 1865) wrote
that they "can muster 1,000 cavalry and always join their brethren
when a raid or war is on the move.  They have obtained  their present possessions gradually and, in great measure, by driving out the fellahin (peasants), destroying their villages and reducing their rich corn-fields to pasturage." (p. 488.)

Tristram goes on to present a remarkable and highly revealing
description of conditions in Palestine on both sides of the Jordan
River in the middle of the 19th century—a description that belies
the Arab claim of a tranquil, normally developing Palestinian rural
economy allegedly disrupted by Jewish immigration and settlement.

A few years ago, the whole Ghor was in the hands of the fellahin, and
much of it cultivated for corn.  Now the whole of it is in the hands of the
Bedouin,  who  eschew  all  agriculture, except in a few spots cultivated
here and  there  by  their slaves; and with the Bedouin come lawlessness
and the uprooting of all Turkish authority. No government is now
acknowledged  on  the  east  side; and unless the Porte acts with greater
firmness and  caution  than  is  his  wont.  Palestine  will  be  desolated
and given up to the nomads.

The same thing is now going on over the plain of Sharon, where, both
in the north and  south,  land  is going out  of cultivation,  and  whole
villages  rapidly  disappearing  from  the  face  of  the  earth.  Since  the  year
1838,  no less than 20  villages have been thus erased  from  the map and the
stationary population  extirpated.  Very  rapidly  the  Bedouin  are  encroaching wherever horse can be ridden;  and  the Government is  utterly powerless to resist them or to defend its  subjects. (p. 490)

For descriptions of other parts of the country, we are indebted to
the   1937  Report  of  the  Palestine  Royal  Commission—though,  for
lack of space, we can quote but the briefest passages.  In Chapter 9,
Para. 43 the Report quotes an eye-witness account of the  condition
of the Maritime Plain in 1913:

The  road  leading from Gaza to the  north  was only a  summer  track
suitable for transport by camels and carts ... no orange groves, orchards
or vineyards were to be seen until one reached Yabna village.                      .
Not in a single village in all this area was water used for irrigation.
Houses were all of mud.  No windows were anywhere  to be seen.
The ploughs used were of wood.      The yields were very poor.
The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible.  Schools did  not
exist.        . The rate of infant mortality was very high.

The area north of Jaffa. consisted of two distinctive parts. . The
eastern part, in the direction of the hills, resembled in culture that of the
Gaza-Jaffa area.  The  western  part,  towards  the  sea,  was  almost  a
desert.         . The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many
ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted  by  their inhabitants.

The  Huleh  basin,  below  the  Syrian  border,  is  described  as
"including a number of Arab villages and a large papyrus swamp
draining south into Lake Huleh .  a  triangular strip  of  land  some
44 sq. miles in area. . This tract is irrigated in a very haphazard
manner by a network of small, primitive canals. It is, owing to over irrigation,  now the most malarious tract in all  Palestine.  It might become one of the most fertile."

With regard to yet another region in Palestine—the Beisan (Beit
Shean)  area—we quote from  the report of  Mr.  Lewis  French,
Director of Development appointed by the British Government in

We found it inhabited by fellahin who lived in mud hovels and suffered
severely from the prevalent malaria. . Large areas of their lands were
uncultivated and covered with weeds.  There were no trees, no vegetables.
The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor
these  and  other  criminals.  The  individual  plots  of  cultivation
changed hands annually.  There was little public security, and the fellahin's
lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors
the Bedouin.

This, then, was the picture of Palestine in the closing decades of
the 19th century and up to the First World War:  a land that was
overwhelmingly desert, with nomads continually encroaching on
the settled areas and its farmers; a lack of elementary facilities and
equipment; peasants wallowing in poverty, ignorance and disease,
saddled with debts (interest rates at times were as high as 60 per
cent)  and threatened by warlike nomads or neighboring clans. The result was a growing neglect of the soil and a flight from the villages, with a mounting concentration of lands in the hands of a small  number  of  large  landowners,  frequently  residing  in  such distant Arab capitals as Beirut and Damascus, Cairo and Kuwait. Here, in other words, was a social and economic order that had all the earmarks of a medieval feudal society.

Who Dispossessed the Palestinian Peasant?
The Palestinian peasant was indeed being dispossessed, but by
his fellow-Arabs: the local sheikh and village elders, the Government
tax-collector, the merchants and money-lenders; and, when he was
a tenant-farmer (as was usually the case), by the  absentee-owner.
By the time the season's crop had been distributed among all these,
little if anything remained for him and his family, and new debts
generally had to be incurred to pay off the old. Then the Bedouin
came along and took their "cut", or drove the hapless fellah off
the land altogether.

This was the "normal" course of events in 19th century Palestine.
It was disrupted by the advent of the Jewish pioneering enterprise,
which sounded the death-knell of this medieval feudal system. In
this  way  the  Jews  played  an  objective  revolutionary  role.  Small
wonder that it aroused the ire and active opposition of the Arab
sheikhs, absentee landowners, money-lenders and Bedouin bandits.

Jewish Land Purchases
It is important to note that the first enduring Jewish agricultural
settlement in modern Palestine was founded not by European refugees,
but by a group of old-time families, leaving the overcrowded
Jewish  Quarter of the  Old  City of Jerusalem. (According to the
Turkish census of 1875, by that time Jews already constituted a
majority  of  the  population of  Jerusalem and by 1905 comprised
two- thirds  of  its  citizens. The Encyclopedia  Britannica of 1910
gives the population figure as 60,000,  of whom 40,000 were Jews.)

In 1878 they founded the village of  Petach Tikva in the Sharon
Plain—a village that was to become known as the  "Mother of
Jewish  Settlements"  in  Palestine.  Four  years  later  a  group  of pioneering immigrants from Russia settled in Rishon le-Zion. Other farming villages followed in rapid succession.

When considering Jewish land purchases and settlements,  four factors should be borne in mind:

(1)  Most of the land purchases involved large tracts belonging to
        absentee  owners. (Virtually  all  of  the  Jezreel  Valley,  for
example, belonged in 1897  to  only  two  persons:  the  eastern
portion to the Turkish Sultan, and the western part to the richest banker in Syria, Sursuk "the Greek".)

(2)  Most of the land purchased had not been cultivated previously
        because it was swampy, rocky, sandy or, for some other reason,
        regarded as uncultivable. This is supported by the findings of
        the Peel Commission Report (p. 242): "The Arab charge that
the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land
cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying orange
groves  was  sand  dunes  or  swamp  and  uncultivated  when  it
was purchased . there was at the time at least of the earlier
sales  little  evidence  that  the  owners  possessed  either  the  resources or training needed to develop the land." (1937)

(3)  While,  for this  reason,  the early  transactions  did  not  involve
        unduly large sums of money, the price of land began to rise
        as Arab landowners took advantage of the growing demand for
        rural  tracts.  The  resulting  infusion  of  capital  into  the
        Palestinian  economy  had  noticeable  beneficial  effects  on  the
        standard of living of all the inhabitants.

(4)  The  Jewish  pioneers  introduced  new  farming  methods  which
        improved the soil and crop cultivation and were soon emulated
        by Arab farmers.

The following figures show land purchases by the three leading Jewish  land-buying organizations and  by  individual  Jews between 1880 and 1935.

Appendix 2

JEWISH LAND PURCHASES, 1880-1935 (in dunams*)

   Organization                 Total       Govern-         From      Large  tracts**
                                         land         ment              private
                                         acquired  conces-          owners                        Percent
                                                         sions                              Dunams      (approx.)

PICA (Palestine Jewish
Assoc.)                            469,407     39,520         429,887       293,545        70
Palestine Land
Development  Co.           579,492      66,513*** 512,979        455,179        90
Jewish National
Fund*** *                       836,396                      
Until 1930                                                            270,084        239,170        90
1931-1947                                                            566,312                             50
Individual Jews               432,100                        432,100                             50
* 4 dunams =  1 acre.

** The  large  tracts  often  belonged  to  absentee  landlords.
*** Land situated in the sandy Beersheba and marshy Huleh districts.
* ". .   . created on December 25, 1901, to ensure that land would be
purchased  for  the Jewish  workers who were  to be  personally responsible for its cultivation.

"Since the J.N.F. was as concerned with conforming to socialist ideals
as  with  intensive  economic  exploitation  of  land,  its  Charter  was
opposed to the use of lands purchased by it as private property.  The
J.N.F. retained the freehold of the lands, while the people working it are only life tenants.

"The capital of the Jewish National Fund was essentially raised from
small  regular  donations  from  millions  of  Jewish  craftsmen,  laborers,
shop-owners and intellectuals in Central and Eastern Europe where the
shadow  of  genocide  was  already  apparent,  who  felt  concerned  about
the return of Jews to Zion.

"Contrary to colonialist enterprises, which were seeking an exorbitant
profit  from  land  extorted  from  the  colonized  peoples,  Zionist
settlement  discouraged  private  capital  as  its  enterprise  was  of  a
socialist  nature  based  on  the  refusal  to  exploit  the  worker." (Kurt
Niedermaler,  Colonization  without  Colonialism,  Youth  and  Hechalutz Dept., Jewish  Agency, Jerusalem, 1969).

From the above table it will be seen that the proportion of land
purchased from large (usually absentee) owners ranged from about
50 to 90 per cent.

"The total area of land in Jewish possession at the end of June
1947," writes A. Granott in The Land System in Palestine (Eyre
and Spottiswoode, London, 1952, p. 278), "amounted to 1,850,000
dunams, of this 181,100 dunams had been obtained through con-
cessions  from  the  Palestinian  Government,  and  about  120,000
dunams had been acquired from  Churches, from foreign companies,
from the Government otherwise than by concessions, and so
forth.  It was estimated  that 1,000,000 dunams  and  more,  or  57
per cent, had been acquired from large Arab landowners, and if to
this we  add  the  lands  acquired  from  the  Government,  Churches,
and foreign companies, the percentage will amount to seventy-three.
From  the  fellaheen  there  had  been  purchased  about 500,000
dunams, or 27 per cent, of the total acquired. The result of Jewish land acquisitions, at least to a considerable part, was that properties which had been in the hands of large and medium owners were converted into holding of small peasants."

The League of Nations Mandate
When the League of Nations conferred the Mandate for Palestine
upon  Great  Britain  in 1922,  it  expressly  stipulated  that  "The
Administration of Palestine .  shall  encourage,  in  cooperation
with the Jewish Agency .  . close settlement by Jews on the land,
including State  lands and waste  lands  not  acquired  for public
purposes" (Article 6), and that it "shall introduce a land system
appropriate to the needs of the country, having regard, among other things,  to  the  desirability  of  promoting  the  close  settlement  and intensive cultivation of the land." (Article 11)

British  policy,  however,  followed  a different course,  deferring to
the extremist Arab opposition to the above-mentioned provision of
the Mandate. Of some 750,000  dunams of cultivable  State  lands,
350,000,  or  nearly half,  had  been  allotted  by 1949  to  Arabs  and
only 17,000  dunams  to  Jews.  This  was  in  clear  violation  of  the
terms of the Mandate. Nor, ironically enough, did it help the Arab
peasants for whose benefit these transactions were ostensibly carried out. The glaring examples of this policy are the case of the Besian lands and that of the Huleh Concession.

Beisan   Lands
Under the Ghor-Mudawwarra Agreement of 1921, some 225,000
dunams of potentially fertile wasteland in the Besian  (Beit Shean)
area were handed over to Arab farmers on terms severely
condemned not only by Jews but also by such British experts as Lewis
French and Sir John Hope-Simpson. More than half of the land
was irrigable,  and, according to  the British experts, eight dunams
of irrigated  land  per capita (or 50-60  dunams  per  family)  were
sufficient  to  enable  a  family  to  maintain  itself  on  the  land.  Yet
many farmers received far more than that: six families, of whom
two lived in Syria, received a combined area of about 7,000 dunams;
four families (some living in  Egypt)  received  a combined  area of
3,496 dunams; another received 3,450 and yet another, 1,350.

Thus  the  Ghor-Mudawwarra  Agreement  was  instrumental  in
creating a new group of large landowners. Possessing huge tracts,
most of which they were unable to till, these owners began  to sell
the surplus lands at speculative prices.  In his 1930  Report,  Sir
Hope-Simpson wrote of the Agreement that it had deprived the Government  of  "the  control  of  a  large  area  of  fertile  land eminently  suited  for  development  and  for  which  there  is  ample water for irrigation," and that "the grant of the land has led to speculation on a considerable scale."

Huleh Area
For twenty years (from 1914 to 1934)  the Huleh Concession—
some 57,000 dunams of partly swamp-infested but potentially highly
fertile  land  in  north-eastern  Palestine—was  in  Arab  hands.  The
Arab concessionaires were to drain and develop the land so as to
make additional tracts available for cultivation, under very attractive
terms offered by the Government (first Turkish,  then British).
However, this was never done, and in 1934 the concession was sold
to  a Jewish  concern,  the  Palestine  Land  Development  Company,
at a huge profit. The Government added several onerous conditions
concerning  the  amount  of  land (from  the  drained  and  newly
developed tracts)  that had to be handed over—without reimbursement
for drainage and irrigation costs—to Arab tenant-farmers in
the area.

All  told,  hundreds  of  millions  of  dollars  were  paid  by  Jewish
buyers  to  Arab  landowners.  Official  records  show  that  in 1933
£854,796  was paid  by Jewish individuals  and  organizations  for
Arab land, mostly large estates; in 1934 the figure was £1,647,836
and in 1935, £1,699,488. Thus, in the course of only three years
£4,202,180 (more than 20 million dollars at the prevailing rate of
exchange)  was  paid  out  to Arab  landowners (Palestine  Royal
Commission Report, 1937).

To understand the magnitude of the prices paid for these lands,
we need only look at some comparative figures. In 1944, Jews paid
between $1,000 and $1,100 per acre in Palestine,  mostly for arid
or semi-arid land; in  the same year rich black soil in the state of
Iowa was selling for about $110 per acre (U.S. Department of

Effects on Arab Population
In  those  instances  where  as  a  result  of  such  transactions  Arab
tenant-farmers were displaced (on one year's notice), compensation
in cash or other land was paid, as required by the 1922  Protection
of Cultivators Ordinance; the Jewish land-buying associations often
paid more than the law required (Pollack  and  Boehm, The Keren
Kayemeth   Le-Israel).  Of 688  such  tenants  between 1920  and
1930,   526 remained in agricultural occupations, some 400 of them finding other  land (Palestine  Royal  Commission  Report, 1937,
Chapter 9, Para. 61).

Investigations initiated in 1931  by Mr. Lewis French disposed of
the  charge  that  a  large  class  of  landless  or  dispossessed  Arab
farmers was created as a result of Jewish land purchases. According
to  the  British  Government  report (Memoranda prepared by the
Government of Palestine, London 1937,  Colonia No. 133,  p.   37),
the total number of applications for registration as landless Arabs
was 3,271. Of these, 2,607 were rejected on the ground that they did
not come within the category of landless Arabs. Valid claims were
recognized  in  the  case  of 664  heads  of  families,  of  whom 347
accepted  the  offer  of  resettlement  by  the  Government.  The
remainder refused either because they had found satisfactory
employment elsewhere or because they were not accustomed to irrigated
cultivation or the climate of the new areas (Peel Report, Chapter 9,
Para. 60).

Purchases of land  by Jews in  the  hill  country  had  always  been
very small and, according to the investigations by Mr.  French, of
71  applications by Arabs claiming to be landless, 68  were turned

Arab  Population   Changes  Due  to  Jewish  Settlement
Another  Arab  claim  disproved  by  the  facts  is  that  Zionist "colonialism" led to the disruption and ruin of the Arab Palestinian society and economy.

Statistics  published  in  the  Palestine  Royal  Commission  Report
(p. 279)  indicate a remarkable phenomenon: Palestine, traditionally
a country of Arab emigration, became after World War I a country
of Arab immigration.  In addition  to recorded figures for 1920-36,
the Report devotes a special section to illegal Arab immigration.
While there are no precise totals on the extent of Arab immigration
between  the two World  Wars,  estimates vary  between 60,000  and
100,000. The principal cause of the change of direction was Jewish
development,  which created  new and  attractive work opportunities
and, in general, a standard of living previously unknown in the
Middle East.

Another major factor in the rapid growth of the Arab population
was, of course, the rate of natural increase, among the highest in
the world. This was accentuated by the steady reduction of the
previously high  infant  mortality  rate  as  a  result  of  the  improved
health and sanitary conditions introduced by the Jews.

Altogether, the non-Jewish element in Palestine's population (not
including Bedouin expanded  between 1922  and  1929  alone  by
more than 75 per cent. The Royal Commission Report makes these
interesting observations:

The shortage of land is, we consider, due less to the amount of land
acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population, (p.  242)
Appendix  2    125

We  are  also  of  the  opinion  that  up  till  now  the  Arab  cultivator  has
benefited, on the whole, both from the work of the British administration
and from the presence of Jews in the country. Wages have gone up; the
standard of living has improved; work on roads and buildings has been
plentiful.  In  the  Maritime  Plains  some  Arabs  have  adopted  improved
methods of cultivation. (p. 241)

Jewish development served as an incentive not only to Arab entry
into Palestine from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and other neighboring
countries,  but  also  to  Arab  population  movements  within  the
country—to cities and areas where there was a large Jewish
concentration. Some idea of this phenomenon may be gained from the
following official figures:

Changes in towns: The Arab population in predominantly Arab
towns rose only slightly (if at all) between the two World Wars: in
Hebron—from  16,650 in 1922 to 22,800 in 1943; Nablus—from
15,931  to  23,300; Jenin—from 2,737 to 3,900; Bethlehem—from
6,658 to 8,800. Gaza's population actually decreased from 17,426
in 1922 to 17,045 in 1931.

On the other hand, in the three major Jewish cities the Arab
population shot up during this period,  far beyond  the  rate  of
natural increase: Jerusalem—from 28,571 in 1922 to 56,400
(97 per cent); Jaffa—from 27,437 to 62,600 (134 per cent); Haifa—
from 18,404 to 58,200 (216 per cent).

Changes in  rural areas: The population of the predominantly
Arab  Beersheba  district dropped  between 1922  and 1939  from
71,000 to 49,000 (the rate of natural increase should have resulted
in a rise to 89,000). In the Bethlehem district the figure increased
from 24,613 to about 26,000 (after falling to 23,725 in 1929). In
the Hebron area it went up from 51,345  to  59,000 (the natural
increase rate dictated a rise to 72,000).

In contrast to these declines or comparatively slight increases in
exclusively  Arab-inhabited  areas,  in  the  Nazareth,  Beit Shean,
Tiberius and Acre districts—where large-scale Jewish settlement and
rural development was underway—the figure rose from 89,600 in
1922 to some 151,000 in 1938 (by about 4.5 per cent per annum,
compared with a natural increase rate of 2.5-3 per cent).

In the largely Jewish Haifa area the number of Arab peasants
increased by 8 per cent a year during the same period. In the Jaffa
and Ramle districts (heavily Jewish populated), the Arab rural
population grew from 42,300 to some   126,000—an annual increase
of   12  per  cent,  or more  than  four  times  as  much  as  can  be
attributed to natural increase (L. Shimony, The Arabs of Palestine,
Tel-Aviv,  1947, pp. 422-23).

One  reason  for  the  Arab  gravitation  toward  Jewish-inhabited
areas, and from neighboring countries to Palestine, was the incomparably
higher wage scales paid there, as may be seen from the following table.

                             (in mils)
Unskilled                   Skilled
labor                     labor
Palestine                            220-250                   350-600
Egypt                                     30-50                      70-200
Syria                                    80-100                    150-300
Iraq                                             50                      70-200
Source:  A.  Khoushy,  Brit  Poali  Eretz-Israel,       1943,
p. 25.

The capital received by Arab landowners for their surplus holding
was used for improved and intensive cultivation or invested in
other enterprises. Turning again to the Report of the  Palestine
Royal Commission (p. 93), we find the following conclusions: "The
large import of Jewish capital into  Palestine has had  a general
fructifying effect on the economic life of the whole country.
The expansion of Arab industry and citri-culture has been largely
financed by the capital thus obtained. . . . Jewish example has done
much to improve Arab cultivation.  . The increase in Arab
population is most marked in areas affected by Jewish development."

During  World  War  II,  the  Arab  population  influx  mounted apace, as is attested by the  UNRWA  Review, Information Paper No. 6 (September 1962) :

A considerable movement of people is known to have occurred, particularly
during the Second World War, years when new opportunities of employment
opened  up  in  the  towns  and  on  military  works  in  Palestine.
These wartime prospects and, generally, the higher rate of industrialization
in  Palestine  attracted  many new  immigrants  from  the  neighboring
countries,  and  many  of  them  entered  Palestine  without  their  presence
being officially recorded.

Land Ownership in 1948
The claim is often made that in 1948 a Jewish minority owning
only 5 per cent of the land of Palestine made itself master of the Arab majority, which owned 95 per cent of the land.

In May 1948 the State of Israel was established in only part of the
area allotted by the original League of Nations Mandate. 8.6 per
cent of the land was owned by Jews and 3.3 per cent by Israeli
Arabs, while 16.9 per cent had been abandoned by Arab owners who
imprudently heeded the call from neighboring countries to "get
out of the way" while the invading Arab armies made short shrift of
Israel. The rest of the land—over 70 per cent—had been vested in
the Mandatory Power, and accordingly reverted to the  State of
Israel as its legal heir. (Government of Palestine, Survey of Pales-
tine, 1946, British Government Printer, p. 257.)

The greater part of this 70 per cent consisted of the Negev, some
3,144,250 acres all told, or close to 50 per cent of the 6,580,000
acres in all of Mandatory Palestine. Known as Crown or State Lands,  this  was  mostly  uninhabited  arid  or  semi-arid  territory, inherited originally by the Mandatory Government from Turkey. In 1948 it passed to the Government of Israel.

These lands had not been owned by Arab farmers—neither under the British Mandate nor under the preceding regime. Thus it is obvious that the contention that 95 per cent of the land—whether of Mandatory Palestine or of the State of Israel—had belonged to Arabs has absolutely no foundation in fact.

*                 *                 •
There is perhaps no better way of concluding and summing up
this study than to quote from an article entitled Is Israel a Thorn
or a Flower in the Near East? by Abdul Razak Kader, the Algerian
political writer, now living in exile in Paris (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 1,

"The Nationalists of the states neighboring on Israel, whether
they are in the government or in business,  whether  Palestinian,
Syrian or Lebanese, or town dwellers of tribal origin, all know that
at the beginning of the century and during the British Mandate
the marshy plains and stone hills were sold to the Zionists by their
fathers or uncles for gold, the very gold which is often the origin
of their own political or commercial careers. The nomadic or semi-
nomadic peasants who inhabited the frontier regions know full well
what the green plains, the afforested hills and the flowering fields
of today's Israel were like before.

"The Palestinians who are today refugees in the neighboring countries and who were adults at the time of their flight know all this, and no anti-Zionist propaganda—pan-Arab or pan-Moslem— can make them forget that their present nationalist exploiters are the worthy sons of their feudal exploiters of yesterday and that the thorns of their life are of Arab, not Jewish, origin."

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