Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The grounding of Judea and Samaria

The grounding of Judea and Samaria

A few months after my family and I moved to Shiloh in 1981, I witnessed a
microcosm of the land problem between Jews and Arabs. A section of land was
to be put aside for security purposes and, as the legal procedure dictated,
the mukhtars of nearby villages were informed and asked to make sure that
any resident claiming private ownership rights should show up on a certain
day to stake his claim.

Sure enough, at the appointed hour, seven Arabs walked onto the area and
then were asked to stand on what each claimed as his private plot. Within
minutes a difficult situation developed when two villagers stood on the same
fertile section, insisting that each owned it. A minute later and they were
throwing stones at each other.

We, the residents of Shiloh, the IDF officers and legal officials all stood
around amazed. In the end, with no documents, no tax receipts, no maps nor
any other reliable proof of ownership, the land was confirmed as "state
land" and assigned to its new use.

The new Peace Now report, "Breaking the Law in the West Bank," besides
making the front page of The New York Times, has generated local headlines
as well. Claiming access to leaked "precise" information regarding the legal
status of the land upon which Jewish revenant communities have been
established, the group asserts that a "direct violation of Israeli law" has
been done by "the state itself."

This arguably illegal circumvention of the system, presumably by a Peace Now
sympathizer within the civil service, was done to gain a few days advantage
over the settlement movement. It's obviously impossible to respond to the
report in all its details with just a few hours notice.

It's nevertheless not too difficult to point to several shortcomings and
misleading information.

In the first instance, Hebron doesn't appear as a "settlement." Not at all.
One could presume that the purchase of the Machpela Cave by Abraham some
3,000 years before a so-called Palestinian people came into being would
indicate that perhaps Jews do have a place in the territory disputed between
Jews and Arabs.

For what the Peace Now report does is, in sleight-of-word fashion, ignore
the issue of state lands. The three sole classifications of "land area" in
the report are private land, survey land and land owned by Jews.

UNTIL 1979, the State of Israel regularly appropriated private land. Karmiel
was built this way and even the Ein Kerem neighborhood of Jerusalem
benefited from such classifications.

Since, then, however, no Arab private land has been used for the Jewish
communities. State (mirie) land is a different matter and, therefore,
ignored in the report's charts. To include it would injure the Peace Now
case. The report, it appears, also resurrects the concept of ardh as-sahil -
the lands of the fields - which were somehow termed as collectively owned.
As the League of Nations Mandate makes clear, in Article 6, "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."

State lands make up the vast majority of the area in Judea and Samaria. Land
disputes began with the Turkish Ottoman administration and continued
throughout the British Mandate period. At the base of the Peace Now approach
is the rehashing of many Arab propaganda claims, now being given
legitimization by sympathetic Jews.

As Arabs have asserted, they supposedly owned 93 percent of the land which
came to be known as the State of Israel, of which 43% was privately owned
and the rest was identified at that time as the Sultan's Land. Jews owned
but 7%. This five-decades old myth is now being resurrected by Peace Now,
which is largely funded by foreign sources.

THERE ARE other concerns, such as questionable data. For example, at Karnei
Shomron, only 1.47% of the land is noted as Jewish-owned. In fact, almost
all the area of the community is Jewish-owned and the same for the Etz
Efraim community.
Peace Now doesn't recognize, it would seem, Jewish land purchases. It would
be interesting to learn whether the concern of Peace Now for private land
extends to Jews who own property in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, either from
pre-state days or afterward, and cannot realize the land's potential due to
Israeli government policy or Arab terrorism, such as at Havat Gilad.
There is also the matter of Arabs who have sold land but then claim
otherwise in fear of extra-legal punishment - in other words, they don't
want to be murdered for selling land to Jews.

In addition, the pictures of the land supposedly owned by "West Bank" Jewish
communities on the Peace Now Web site are misleading. There is a vast
difference between the area displayed and the actual area zoned at various
government ministries and civilian administration offices. The boundaries
are arbitrary, usually delineated by patrol roads which do not reflect on
the actual property definitions.

THERE IS, it need be admitted, a very fundamental chasm between Peace Now
and the reality on the ground. Property disputes have always existed,
especially since the first land registration -Tabu - law was promulgated
from the days of the Turks only in 1858.

But we should not lose sight of the major issue and that is that this
conflict is not about private property but one between two nations claiming
the same land.

Even if 51% of the land in question was owned by Jews as private property,
Peace Now would oppose a Jewish presence in the area. Shiloh, Hebron and
Beit El are place names that simply do not resonate with these
concessionists. Their goal is simple: to get the Jews out of the territory
they want for a future Palestinian state. To this end, even a juggling of
terms and data is permissible.
The writer, a volunteer spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities in
Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, comments on political, cultural and media
affairs at

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory