Thursday, March 15, 2007

Palestinian Land Ownership

Shalom Barbara NYC,

You ask of me:
I am also hoping Ghanem can give us some documentation about the claim that land was confiscated and the Shilo sits on Tumos-Ayya land. And I am hoping Yoel can give us some background on Israel's claim that the land was owner less or "state-land" whatever that means.
Let me provide you with the following up-to-date links to information that might help you understand. The Palestinians seek and receive a great deal of support in their efforts to thwart the continued existence of Jewish communities throughout the Land of Israel from Peace Now (Shalom Achshav). Recently Peace Now came out with a bombastic claim that 86% of the land Jewish communities were built on were stolen Arab lands. Recent revelations from the IDF's data base of land usage/allocation appears to put the lie to these allegations.
IDF shows flaws in Peace Now report
JPost March 14, 2007

The Civil Administration noted that the Peace Now report was full of
inaccuracies, and implied that it had included in its figures outposts that the state considered illegal.
"For a number of years, the Civil Administration routinely examined the status of land prior to approving planning procedures and/or prior to allocating land," the letter stated. "This is done carrying out an in-depth re-examination of the status of the land in order to ensure that no harm comes to or use is made of privately held Palestinian land for the needs of Israeli settlement."
To better understand why the discrepancy between Arab (and Peace Now) claims and how the law abiding Israeli government agencies see it, it might be insightful to read the explanation published in a number of places. You see in Ottoman Law there are several different concepts to what we would call "ownership".

Peace Now is calling “private Palestine land” is under the Ottoman Code at best miri land, and it is therefore not privately owned. Rather, it is land in which a person is granted by the state a limited right of use (whence the term usufruct). The rights include, for example, that once registered someone else cannot try to cultivate the same land. This is similar to the rights one has in renting an apartment – someone else cannot come and try to live without permission in the same apartment, but that doesn't mean the renter owns the apartment.
... contrary to Peace Now, the land remains the property of the state, and therefore it does not revert to the state only if there is a failure to cultivate. Miri land – the land of the Emir, or equivalently, of the sovereign – is state land, period. If there is a failure to cultivate the limited rights granted by the state are withdrawn, not ownership of the land, which was never granted in the first place.
Of course the emotional issues are not as rational and cut and dried as legal issues, but for the most part, at least for certain since 1979, no Arab land was confiscated unless for dire security reasons, and then full compensation was provided. Moreover, there are many cases where Arab property was damaged as a result of their direct and active involvement in anti-Jewish activities where none-the-less Israel's champions of civil rights, the Israeli Supreme Court, granted the Arabs compensations for the damage they sustained. Difficult to believe they'd let the Israeli government steal vast tracks of land against the law when they are willing to compensate Arabs involved in endangering Israeli lives.

I'm certain Ghanem doesn't see it this way, but then it is rather clear that to him Jews have no claim to any part of the Land of Israel and no rights in it, so it is rather difficult to find a common middle ground when everything is his and nothing is yours.

Looking forward to everyone's response(s).

Yoel Ben-Avraham
Shilo, Benyamin


Anonymous said...

Thank you Yoel for your response and the links to the interesting (and difficult!) articles.

If I understand the CAMERA article then, according to international law, Israel, as an occupying power, (as well as Britain and Jordan when they were occupying powers of the West Bank) is obligated to observe the laws of the previous sovereign, the Ottomans.

Land fell into one of 3 categories: 1) "mulk" - privately owned land
2) "miri" - land that is sort of leased to a tenant for as long as he continues to cultivate it.
3) "mewat" - uncultivated, undeveloped land, more than 1.5 miles from a town. This is vacant or unowned state land.

Do I have this right?

So, Yoel, are you saying that Shilo was built on uncultivated land that was either "miri" or "mewat" and more than 1.5 miles from Turmos-Ayya? And Ghanem, are you saying otherwise?

I sent a reply to Ghanem's response to me in which I asked what structures from Turmos-Ayya were destroyed to build Shilo, but I haven't seen it posted. Perhaps it didn't get through.

Barbara NYC

Yoel.Ben-Avraham said...

I sent a reply to Ghanem's response to me in which I asked what structures from Turmos-Ayya were destroyed to build Shilo, but I haven't seen it posted. Perhaps it didn't get through.

Sorry Barbara, I didn't see this. Would you like try and resend it? YBA

Anonymous said...

I will try to rewrite it after the weekend.

Although I have been reading blogs for a long time, this is the first time I responding to one. I am still getting used to how the comments box works. I must have done something wrong.

I apologize, Ghanem, for it seeming like I was ignoring your response. Thank you for sending it.

Barbara NYC

YMedad said...

As far as I know or recall, Turnos-Aya land never included any property that Shiloh now sits on. If at all, there were problems with Karyut but they could never prove any claim either based on documentation, tax recipts or maps.
At one point, when some 8 men declared that land Shiloh was using belonged to them, although no cultivation had taken place, they were asked to stand on their property. What happened was that two Arabs stood on the same exact 'plot' and began fighting with each other while we Jews looked on amazed.

Anonymous said...

You are famous!!

This report on National Public Radio talks about Shilo and Turmos Ayya.

This is part 4 of a 5 part series on the 6 Day War.

Barbara NYC

Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

Barbara from NYC lives on the occupied land, taken from the exterminated native Indians.