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The historical lie: Did the Palestinians sell their land to the Jews in the 1940s?

The historical lie: Did the Palestinians sell their land to the Jews in the 1940s?

At the beginning of his seven visits, Sir Moses Montefiore, a wealthy British Jew, traveled to Palestine in 1827, intending to explore its sites and learn about the conditions of his Jew religion fellows. He was surprised by their reality, that there were about 500 Jews in a terrible state of poverty and degradation, distributed between Tal al-Qadi in the north and Beersheba in the south, which angered and saddened "Montefiore", and pushed him to go to the high gate of the Ottoman state, requesting permission to construct a number of shelters to house these downtrodden Jews .

It did not take long for "Montefiore" to acquire the first piece of Jewish land in Palestine, "as a result of Britain's intervention with the Ottoman authorities, for the Sultan to issue a decree in 1849 authorizing the Jews to purchase land in the Holy Land" [1], and "Montefiore" builds the first colony Judaism on land outside the Old City wall in Jerusalem, which was soon officially recognized by the Ottoman authorities with the issuance of the Foreign Acquisition Law in 1869; In order to place the nucleus of the first Jewish neighborhood in Palestine [2].

From Britain to Palestine again, days roll, and the armies of the British Crown set foot on the country of Olives with the defeat of the sick man of Europe - the Ottoman Empire - in World War I and the legacy is distributed to the Allies, among whom Britain won power over Palestine in 1918. Meanwhile, It hesitated. Around the post is the letter of British Prime Minister "Arthur James Balfour" - the famous - which he sent on November 2, 1917 to the Jewish Lord "Walter de Rothschild" - a member of the wealthy Rothschild family - indicating the British government's support for the establishment of a national home for Jews in Palestine, saying: "The Government of His Majesty looks with sympathy to the establishment of a national shrine in Palestine for the Jewish people, and will make every effort to facilitate the achievement of this goal."

How could this happen? It was difficult to imagine, until this year the number of Jews in Palestine - after the sudden immigration - reached 50,000 Jews, 7.2% of the total population [3], who own only about 2.4% of the lands of Palestine [1], so what homeland for these? Perhaps it seems confusing at first, which is confirmed by Dr. Ibrahim Hegazy in his book “The Social Roots of the Nakba,” as this concept of a “national home” remained confused and completely unclear to the Palestinian Arab people of the country. Until the matter went on in his career, which gradually descended into it with time.

The Palestinians were the ones who sold their land to the Jews. That propaganda that filled the quarters among many Arabs before the Jews revered with it, so how can we deal with this claim? Is this what actually created a Jewish homeland in the heart of Palestine? Did these people really sell their land and then weep over it? And they sold here, meaning that we are talking about the majority, not exceptions, or is the matter just a rapidly spreading lie that carries from the acquittal of consciences what helps it to spread? Was the alleged Israel established on land that it really owned, or was Britain not satisfied with "Moses Montefiore" alone to form the Jewish homeland in Palestine?

From a Rumor to Ownership 

In a simple journey to the past, its end begins in the nineteenth century, and with a glance at the lands of Ottoman Palestine, we will find that most of it is desert lands bordering on a plain full of olive trees, vineyards, orange groves and fields of simple peasants, those surrounding their villages in the public domain for everyone: everyone can work with it, And everyone benefits from cutting them over the years.

This communal, which constituted 70% of the Palestinian lands until the year of the Mandate, was distributed by lottery among the villagers in each cycle. So that a family other than the one who preceded it could benefit from cultivating it, and thus the land circulated between them, without selling, buying, or title deeds, which did not greatly satisfy the Ottoman Empire. Until it promulgated the Ottoman Land Law in 1858, followed by the Tabu system in 1859 [2], which "emphasized the necessity of registering private land in the name of its user and owner" [4].

In the past, the state used to grant land to those with influence and leaders. To transfer it in turn to its peasants' applicants in exchange for fees and taxes paid by the latter to them, until feudalism ended, so the task of distribution was transferred to the obligated and tax collectors, who used to give the peasant - at that time - a bond proving his right to the land. The matter was not complicated in this new way, for the farmer - even - if he lost his document, verbal testimonies from the people of his village would suffice for him. The fact that the most important thing in this is to seize control over it and exploit it, and it was not in the interest of anyone nor was he able to "contest the peasant for his right to the land as long as he continues to cultivate it and fulfills his tax obligations, for it is his possession by prescription and his property by use" [5].

Then the Tabu was issued, and the obligors and collectors were prohibited - finally - from granting any title deeds or disposing of them, and the matter was limited to the money directors who were considered the official authorized to delegate and transfer lands without others. Of course, the situation did not suit the peasants at the time. Because they found themselves faced with three unavoidable dilemmas - in the event of registering with the title deed -; The first is the exposure of their children to military recruitment, which was one of the causes of social panic for them. Because the possession of the title deeds is an indication of the village's ability to supply human beings during the war.

The second is the economic deficit in front of the title deed fees and its dues from taxes, the last of which is the lack of confidence in the state that canceled the registration system with endowment glasses. To prevent farmers from stopping their lands to evade registration, and to activate the role of courts that are prohibited from hearing any lawsuit whose owner does not have an official title deed. It was not easy for the peasant “to bear the burden of conscription, which impoverished the land with its social resources, ruined agriculture, and greatly reduced the standard of living,” in addition to “forcing him to pay the tithe and other taxes.”

Those three reasons forced the peasants to collectively and stubbornly evade the Land Registry Law, which led them to a dangerous slope threatening their possession of lands that are no longer recognized or guaranteed to their user. The stubbornness of the countryside also did not constitute an obstacle to Ottoman legislation, as the changes took their logical becoming, and the space was opened for the exploitation of capitalism, which, after a series of transformations, would lead to “a geographic-demographic disintegration of the countryside, which continued to break all forms of communal society.”

From Farmers to Capital 

As a result of the three predicaments, ownership of rural lands was not concentrated except in the hands of a few wealthy individuals who are able to carry out the burdens of the new land, and the matter here - especially after the issuance of the aforementioned Foreign Ownership Law - is limited to three large classes of landlords: local capitalism for the wealthy of Palestine, and Arab capitalism. The big families, who were mostly from Lebanon and Syria, and European Zionist capitalism with a smaller percentage and more active transformations than before.

The Arab families were divided into two types. The first type - according to the Jordanian researcher Akram Hijazi - was from the families with leaders, who took from the cities a headquarters to exercise their activities and influence, or those rural families with influence, who ruled the mountains and the foothills of the curves and organized their authority within some framework He was known as the authority of the elders. Hegazy states that these families have grown their wealth through plundering the peasants, committing taxes, and trading in money and usury. As for the second type, it was from the wealthy families whose members worked as supervisors of the endowment properties and inherited the work with them until they became their place of residence and their property over time.

Levantine and Lebanese families were able to acquire vast areas of Palestinian lands, such as the “Sursock”, “Al-Omari al-Dimashqiyya”, “Qabbani” and “Al-Akrawi” families, and others, by 57 thousand dunums for the Levantine families, and half a million others for the Lebanese (2) ], Along with some individuals of an Ottoman vassal, such as "Baha'i Irani" from Iran and "Count Shadid" from Egypt [6], but the Lebanese "Sarsaq" family, descended from the Greek Orthodox, remains the one with the largest share and the most prominent role in transforming the identity of the lands while After being an Arab to an infiltrator Jew, according to Emile El-Ghoury, they sold about 400 thousand dunams to the Jews, including their ownership in Marj Bani Amer.

As for the small peasant owners, usury played an effective role in their loss of their land, after they mortgaged it to the wealthy of the big cities, who began to entice the peasants with material facilities in lending, especially in times of taxation, accumulating year after year until these poor people seemed to be negligent in Their land in return for what they owe their debts, but they stayed there as a means of employment, in a privilege that the Jews will not give them when their authority is extended over the land. The state’s intervention also contributed to another type of transfer of land to the wealthy when it transferred to its possession what it considered lands in excess of the villages ’needs - from communal lands - in addition to the seizure of vast areas of the communal areas of the Bedouin agricultural villages in the south under the pretext of not paying the title deed allowance or due taxes. What follows, after that, a direct presentation of these lands in the public auction, and then the transfer of ownership of them to the wealthy alone.

This disintegration contributed to a social transformation - in turn -, as the communal was not confined to being an economic system for managing lands, but rather was extended in turn to be a refuge for the peasant when he was unable to pay his taxes, so the solution was simple by seeking other land to cultivate or rent and pay for it. While the situation under the title deed has gradually turned into a different pattern in which the peasant collides with lands that he will not be able to exploit without the title deed that he is fleeing from in the first place.

The below table in Arabic shows that majority of the people who sold the land were of non Palestinian origin but mostly Lebanese and Syrian, One Iranian and Egyptian. 

This dilemma for the peasant, with the other openness of the wealthy class, was met on the other hand by another capitalist incursion by Zionist capital, with its individual and collective sides, which appeared with the Foreign Ownership Law [a]. Montefiore and other capitalists did, such as the French baron Edmund Rothschild, the richest of the Jews, who established the first agricultural school on the land of the village of Yazur in Jaffa after he obtained the right to lease it for ninety-nine years with an Ottoman decree at the time [2]

In contrast to this type, which included many early settlements, the second type emerged, "advanced practical Zionism" with orientation and political capital, based on slow settlement, and effective in the long run. This type aimed at achieving a connection to the old settlements, because their current fragmentation obstructs the dream of the desired national homeland. This is what carried its banner, the Sheikh of Zionism and its most talented theoretician, "Menachem Osshkin."

He noticed at the time that one of the obstacles to the Jewish dream lies in the continued work of Arab peasants in Jewish settlements, which angered "Rothschild" a lot, so Osshkin worked on it in his book "Our Program", in which he said: "Every nation seeks after an independent political entity." In order to achieve its goal, it must take into account three necessary cases: the state of the people, the state of the country, and the external circumstances. " By making the lands under the control of the people and creating a spiritual relationship between them and them, in addition to providing a political program to win over foreign public opinion to the movement of this people.

Osschkin concluded that in order to achieve ownership of the land of Palestine for the Jewish people, two basic steps must be taken: buying these lands from their owners, and taking care that the Jews actually settle these lands and not leave them to the Arab laborers. For this purpose, Jewish institutions were established to activate purchases in greater quantities and better incentives, chiefly the "Jewish Trust Fund - Tick", "The British Palestinian Company - Bank Inc.", "The Jewish National Fund - Kern Kayemet" and "The Palestine Founding Fund - Kern Heisod."

Nevertheless, and with the intensity of the temptations of the Jewish institutions to the Arab owners or even the lands leased for a long time from the Ottoman government - according to the law of foreigners - the ownership of the Jews did not exceed until the establishment of the British Mandate to the Ottoman rule in 1914 more than 245,581 dunums, or about 1%, of the area Total Palestine [8], which is an unimaginable number compared to the Arab possessions of the land. That is why the mandate had another opinion of doubling this number, but did that make a difference?


Government intervention - in political practice during the Ottoman rule - remained limited and indirect between the people and their government, not exceeding the collection of taxes and the mobilization of soldiers, meaning that the relationship was only seasonal expediency. While - on the contrary - Britain was keen that the intervention of its mandate government was as direct and swift as possible, which would not have happened without the restructuring of the country's infrastructure to enable the colonial forces to have greater and more coherent control over its dispersed parts.

For this reason, the colonial authority began working in two parallel directions: developing the transportation and communication network, and building a financial apparatus to finance its activities locally, so that, due to the first trend, it was able to enumerate and survey all lands and villages - and then transfer what it could convert into Jewish property -, and through the second development it was able to Supports its local activities in enhancing the settlement effort and moving towards a Jewish Palestine [2].

During the period from 1921-1937, the government spent about 1,650,000 pounds on building and paving roads, and about 1,265,000 pounds on maintaining them [7]. The modernization also included railways, ports, and postal and telegraph services. As for the financial system, the structure of the public finances and its attained trends at the time showed a distinct pattern that “translated the British colonial domination in alliance with the Zionist institutional administration” [2].

This model resulted from the absence of the National Development Administration, which represents the majority of the Arab population in Palestine during that era, as the government sought to marginalize any Arab presence, and even support Zionist projects at the expense of Arab projects, even if the idea itself was preceded by an Arab investor [2]. The features of the financial system were - according to a report by the Palestinian Wafa Agency - in both the structural composition of the public financial system and the tax system that was followed, and public financial developments, in addition to the structure of the financial system of Zionist institutions.

Whereas the budget for Palestine was prepared in London and approved and approved by the British Colonial Secretary - "Winston Churchill" at the time - without referring to any party representing the people of Palestine, the municipal councils budget was subject to the approval of the Major General who was appointed with the approval of the British High Commissioner in Palestine . According to the same report, the fiscal structure at the time was dependent on its revenues through direct taxes, which consisted mainly of the income tax, and indirect taxes that depended on customs duties, in addition to licenses, fees, services, semi-commercial projects and other revenues.

This is in contrast to the property tax in the villages, in the first half of 1935 the Mandate government canceled two Ottoman taxes: the tithes tax (12.5% ​​reduced to 10%), and the wirko tax - the land tax in rural areas - (6.24 per thousand of the value of the princely lands, and 16 1 per thousand of the property’s land value, and 14.1 per thousand of the built property value), and replaced the property tax law in cities and villages with them. The degree of its fertility, and a rate of tax on each dunum was set at 10% of the estimated net yield, and the tax on lands planted with acidic trees was estimated at 12.5% ​​of the net income on the basis that the owners of acidic trees are financially more able to pay than grain farmers, which has proven otherwise. 9].

From those who don't own to those who don't deserve

Then, in an additional step - after burdening the peasants with taxes - the Mandate government began enacting other laws for the land system, with the aim of increasing the state’s share of princely lands, and then facilitating their passage to the Jews, with the enactment of a permanent exception that entitles the High Commissioner to absolute rights in granting land according to its requirements. "Public interest". Sir Herbert Samuel during his tenure as High Commissioner, and in less than a year, issued half a dozen laws that abolished all the Ottoman regimes that prevented Jews from possessing immovable property - real estate and land - in Palestine.

The Land Transfer Law was issued which allowed exchange companies to mortgage lands in exchange for their loans, and provided for the transfer of lands to commercial companies to establish their projects, which was followed by “official recognition of the Jewish National Fund as a public benefit institution entitled to purchase land” [10]. The law also repealed Article 22 of the circular issued on June 24, 1918, which prohibits courts from issuing an order to sell immovable property in implementation of a judgment or fulfillment of a mortgage. Two weeks later, the High Commissioner ordered the creation of land courts that were entrusted with hearing disputes arising over them, and allowed to order the sale of lands in implementation of a judgment or in fulfillment of a mortgage. The law also prohibits any Palestinian residing abroad from owning any land in his home [2].

Also, the dissolved lands law was issued in 1920, which stipulates that all lands that are dissolved due to the discontinuity of the heirs, or for not being cultivated for a period of three years, will appear upon the technical survey of unrestricted lands even if they are under control, and then their ownership reverts to the state. Then the law of mewat lands - owned without a title deed - introduced by an amendment to Article 103 of the Ottoman Land Law, which stipulates that every person who cultivates or exploits empty land without the approval of the administration does not have the slightest right to own this land, but rather exposes himself to trial if he does not know The Land Registrar at the Land Registry Department within two months of publishing this law [11].

The expropriation laws come as a dramatic and realistic example of the "Balfour" Declaration, in a way that may often seem cynical; The law promulgated in 1926 during the era of Lord "Blomer" - the second delegate - stipulated absolute rights for the state to expropriate lands, whether by negotiation with their owners, or by law, as long as the matter is subject to the rubber term called "public benefit", for the sake of Project owners, either by purchasing, usufruct, or acquiring any easement right necessary for the project.

If the owners of the project are unable to do so, they may - according to Article 5 of the law - submit to the High Commissioner for his approval the aforementioned negotiation declaration or announcements, and the High Commissioner has the authority to either withdraw his approval or grant it after making the amendments that he would like in a declaration or Negotiating announcements, and all of this of course - and in fairness - according to the "public interest" that only the esteemed Mandate government knows [12].

This law was followed by a number of other laws, such as the Forest Law of March 1926, which authorized the High Commissioner to take possession of any forest that is not private property under government supervision as a preserved forest, and that no right to or on a preserved forest is transferred or transferred By grant, lease, mortgage, or any other kind of disposition, except with the approval of the High Representative [13]. And the Law of Settlement of Property Rights, which was followed by two years, and the ruling that the High Commissioner had the right to settle property rights in lands located in any area and register them. This resulted in the final settlement of ownership in 107 villages and the exit of their lands from the communal lands, while the greater part of Palestine remained unrepaired. It is striking that the settlement was concentrated in the coastal plains far from the mountainous and desert areas in which the Jews did not buy [2] [14].

While the Land Acquisition Act for Public Purposes in 1943 came as a brief expression of the British government's method during its mandate and its intention to pass ownership of land to the Jews, which will become clear after the Nakba, as this law allowed the High Commissioner to acquire any land in absolute expropriation, or any right of easement in That land or on it, as well as the right to order persons who claim any right, or benefit in the land to be acquired, to take their hands off it [15].

With this package of laws, Britain increased the government's control over the native lands, which helped develop the transportation infrastructure, which enabled the government to extend its influence to lands that are not under anyone's control throughout the country; In 1946 Britain would produce a total of about one and a half million dunams of land [SH]. As a result of all this, the proportion of the communal population (the biggest obstacle to Zionist ownership) decreased from 70% in 1918 to 56% of all Palestinian lands in 1923, then to 46% in 1929, and reached about 40% in 1940 [3].

Of course, the matter did not stop at this point. According to the two documents of the Mandate and the Mandatory Constitution of Palestine, the "concession" appears on the scene as one of the government's right to free disposition of the land with the repeated flexible argument: the "public benefit". As a result, the beneficiary of the franchise can enjoy all the laws of expropriation and land settlement to expand the area of ​​the concession area. Hegazy states that the government did not observe the principle of “distributing wealth in a manner that does not contradict the civil rights of other groups,” so the government could not rely on any legal justification for its policy.

The year of concessions passed, then, during which the Jews - according to "Ghassan Kanafani" [16] - were able to control the infrastructure of the Palestinian economy (the wealth in the ground), which led to a near total collapse of the Palestinian Arab economy. It is indicated in this context, according to “Abd al-Jawad Salih” and “Walid Mustafa” [17], that the capital that monopolized the concessions granted to Zionist institutions or companies amounted to about 90% of the total capital of the franchising companies in Palestine.

The Jews also argued - according to Article VI of the instrument - that the government is not equal between them and the Arabs in renting out their lands, while these lands were under the hands of the Palestinians from the Ottoman era, even if they were from the lands of the Sultan, because no one was in conflict with the peasant for a land that he would occupy. In addition to clearing it of it, which did not continue in the British era, and it was proven at the end of 1943 that the debate of the Jews was empty. Because they rented 125088 dunums of state land, compared to 1,222 others, the Arabs were leased, with privileges that also exceeded the Arabs in terms of the long term [2].

Land with People 

"I support forced deportation, and I do not see it as immoral."

(David Ben-Gurion)

A land without a people for a people without a land, that popular Zionist idea, which the movement promoted at the hands of its biggest leaders such as "Israel Zangwil" and "Theodor Herzl" and others, resulted in what needs to be mentioned and clarified. However, there remains a simple fact that is absent from this popular propaganda, which is that Palestine was not a land without a people. This is simply the matter. Because approximately one and a half million people used to occupy that land that Israel allegedly usurped, most of it under pretexts, including that it bought the land of the ancestors.

Another fact that remains in mind, which is that despite the Ottoman ownership laws, which are simple in their privileges, and the British laws of ownership, which were accelerating the granting of land to the Jews - as will be mentioned -, the Jews did not leave Palestine during decades of buying and deceit with only 5.7% [1] ], Rises in its highest estimates to 6.7% of the lands of Palestine [2], of which the percentage of what they bought from farmers - under conditions of borrowing, usury and material pressure on them - reached about 9.4%, while their remaining share (90.6%) was from the large absentee landlords and owners. Government lands, churches, foreign companies, and mandate grants [2].

These properties were concentrated in the north without the south, down to the south along the coast, until they decreased sharply in the central cities, which, according to Hijazi, resulted in a major structural imbalance in the level of economic and social relations, as well as demographic and cultural relations - in the cities of particular interest. Jewish density - in view of the impoverishment of cities and towns that depend on trade with neighboring towns, the settlement left behind, the eviction - which the Jews stipulated on the big landlords when buying them - led to farmers losing their work, and then the problem of unemployment and the deterioration of the economic life of Palestinians in the aforementioned cities in the north The “Sursock” family alone evacuated a quarter of a million dunams of Marj Bani Amer lands, and thus caused the displacement of between 20-25 villages inhabited by about 2546 families, including about 15,000 people [18].

Ownership of Jewish lands by district in 1947











Ber Seba












AlNasra – Nazareth












 Not much time passed on these developments until what is indispensable to his story happened, as the rate of Jewish immigration increased enormously, making its population close to a third of the Palestinians who own the land, and the tone of the division that was voted on in the end by the majority of the members of the nascent United Nations rose to the conclusion of the decision to divide Palestine to a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a neutral international mandate in Jerusalem, but what really caused irony is that the land granted to the Jewish state in the decision was estimated at 15261649 dunums - 56.47% of the area of ​​Palestine - while the entire property of the Jews throughout the previous era did not exceed 1383858 A dunum, meaning less than half of the Arabs ’property, which amounted within these limits 3577825 dunums, while the rest was either state property and it is Arab by definition, or it is used by custom by Arab families, families and tribes according to the communal and disposition of the land [2].

Even the census did not allow for this division, which was rejected by both Jews and Arabs in the end. So that matters proceed as they are known, and the Zionist forces declare on the fourteenth of May 1948 the establishment of their so-called state, and the next day the first Arab war with the Israelis erupts; To end at the borders of the armistice that Syria sealed signing in July 1948, and a new state will be declared on 77.4% of the land area of ​​which they have never owned a tenth of this percentage.

Then it was not difficult for the one who raped all this to enact theatrical laws that justify his seizure of actually stolen Palestinian property, such as the absentee law who stole every land whose owner was absent or traveled outside the borders of the armistice or the seven Arab war states, even the Islamic endowments were robbed of the same law, So that about a million citizens turn overnight into refugees who are not separated by the character of alienation, nor will they be spared by those who let them down with an accusation that has no basis. Perhaps the idle consciences of those who have the original right may be relieved, but they will not pass their claims on the necks of history, which knows that the people of Palestine did not sell their land nor exchange money With dirt, but they made it with much blood.


A: The ownership of foreign Jews was abolished from this law in 1881, and Jewish ownership was abolished in general in 1892, according to the attached video sources.

Note: This article is still going under revision and not yet in its best grammatical and English translation case. 
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