06 December 2016

The Complex Nature of the Land

Hypocrisy and the Evil of the Erev Rav is Astonishing, But What Can Be Done About It?

"Woe to the journalist or correspondent who haphazardly uses the term “private Palestinian land” without being up-front and honest about the complex nature of the land in question."

We're talking about Amona and other communities in Judea and Samaria

[U]se of the term “West Bank,” a term invented by the Jordanians in 1950 to justify their occupation, is used to undermine the historical fact that Judea and Samaria have always been clearly accepted and understood to be the cradle of Jewish history and civilization, the use of the term “private Palestinian land” is an abuse of the facts and does huge damage to Israel’s credibility and standing.

The earliest internationally recognized document containing a reference to land that was neither private nor public was the British Mandate for Palestine, adopted unanimously by the League of Nations in 1922. In Article 6 it stated: 

“The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

The Mandate did not introduce the concept of “waste lands.” Eretz Israel having been occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 400 years meant Ottoman land law was the prevailing law.

The major Ottoman rewrite of land law occurred in 1858, and spoke of five distinct classes of land:

  • Arazi Memluke – freehold lands (private land)
  • Arazi Miri – crown lands belonging to the state (state land)
  • Arazi Mevkufe – lands possessed in mortmain, but tenanted by a kind of copyhold (Wakf land)
  • Arabic Metruke – lands abandoned without cultivation or ostensible ownership Arazi Mewat – dead lands, uncultivated and unappropriated (waste land) And then within these classes there were further classifications.

For example there were four types of private land, two types of Mevkufe land, one of which was land held by the Wakf (a form of Islamic trust), and two types of Metruke land: lands set aside for public use such as access roads, and land left for the use of the inhabitant of the area for use as pasture land.

The Ottoman Land Code (OLC) then went on to elucidate in full the laws about how land (including the many different types) could be acquired, gifted, held, bequeathed and sold. Including many restrictions that applied, depending on the exact type of land.

As well as the OLC, with the arrival of the British, under the Mandate new rules were established such as the Mewat (waste land) Ordinance of 1921. The British authorities also embarked on renewing and completing the official land registry, that had fallen into disarray during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. It is important to note that many complications exist today because they never actually finished the job.

Then the Jordanians arrived (or Trans-Jordanians as they were called at the time) acting pretty much however they wanted to, allocating land to one tribe and taking land from another at a whim.

[. . . .]

Fast-forwarding to today, the result is pandemonium and uncertainty, one of the very reasons the Levy Report called for the establishment of a specific court to deal solely with land issues in Judea and Samaria.

Woe to the journalist or correspondent who haphazardly uses the term “private Palestinian land” without being up-front and honest about the complex nature of the land in question. The better, more accurate term to use is “non-state land.”

Source: Private Land, State Land or Something Else Altogether This entire post is from this JPost article.

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