title to the land they claim is theirs.
In 1858 the
Land owners were subject to military service in the Ottoman Army
opposition to official regulations from the
of taxes and registration fees to the
- The registration process itself was open to manipulation.
"We have found that a large number of stateless Arabs migrated to the Mandatory Areas after the Liberation in 1918 and establishment of the Mandate in search of gainful employment. So in essence they are squatters and as in most civilized countries of the world you cannot stay on land that is not legally yours.” World War I leftMichael Fischbach a professor of history at Randolph-Macon College, offers a detailed study in his book "Records of Dispossession" and what is the conclusion? That;
Palestine, especially the countryside, deeply impoverished. Palestine's fellahin, the country's tenant peasant farmers, who did not hold ownership of their land or homes but were servants of absentee landlords who resided in Beirutand Damascus, comprised over two-thirds of the indigenous Arab population.” Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs, the first British military governor of Jerusalem.
"...though some middle class refugees were able to flee with liquid capital, the majority were small-scale farmers whose worldly fortunes were the land, livestock, and crops they left behind."The Ottoman land law classifies land under five kinds or categories. These, with suggested approximate counterparts in English, are as follows:
- Mulk = private or allodial land (held in absolute ownership).
- Miri =
feudal or State land, but can also specifically refer to vacant State
land. A sub-category of the same is mahlul, or what is defined as escheated State land. Most Ottoman registrations of miri (usufruct) titles existing in usufruct State Palestineare based on a presumed or lost grant.
- Waqf = allodial land in mortmain tenure, being land assured to pious foundations or revenue from land assured to pious foundations; also usufruct State land of which the State revenues are assured to pious foundations.
- Matruka = communal profits-à-prendre land, being land subject to public easements in common, or servitude State land.
- Mewat = dead and undeveloped land.
It was widely known fact that throughout the pre-1947 "Mandated Areas" that Jewish buyers preferred land free of tenant farmers.These absentee Arab land owners"effendis" would go so far as to actively expel tenant farmers off the plot he wished to sell without paying their "Fellachim\serfs" any compensation beforehand as to make it a more attractive purchase.
Conversely, "The Jews ... have in many cases paid displaced cultivators generous pecuniary compensation ..."
"They [Jews] paid high prices for the land, and in addition they paid to certain of the occupants of those lands a considerable amount of money which they were not legally bound to pay." a quote from the "The Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development, commonly referred to as the Hope Simpson Enquiry or the Hope Simpson Report" dated October 1, 1930, but was released on October 21, 1930
"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).The 1945 UN estimate shows that Arab ownership of arable land was on average 68% of a district, ranging from 15% ownership in the Beer-Sheba district to 99% ownership in the Ramallah district. This data cannot be fully understood without comparing them to those of neighboring countries: in
"The total area of land in Jewish possession at the end of June 1947, amounted to 1,850,000Dunams, of these 181,100 Dunams had been obtained through concessions 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 “Fellachim” (peasants\serfs) 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." A. Granott in The Land System in
Palestine(Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1952, p. 278),
Many Arab inhabitants during the Ottoman Turkish Empire and Mandate hid or lied to not have to pay taxes and thereby did not admit to ownership. Many -whole, primarily Moslem -villages were virtual "serfs" or indentured servants to wealthy absentee land owners residing in