Are Jewish Settlements Built on Arab Land?

Is it really true, as much of the European and American press have been reporting for years, that Jewish “settlers” in the “West Bank” (more properly known as Judea and Samaria) are living on land that they have stolen from Palestinian Arabs?

This is in fact utterly impossible. Every time that the Israeli government has proposed or given tentative approval for the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, it has first advertised its intentions in Arab newspapers, and invited any Arabs who have claims to the land to come forward with them. Only if no such claims were put forward for at least six months; or if, after such claims were made, the Israeli court system had ruled against them following a painstaking and thorough review of the facts, in which the courts bent over backwards to be fair to all Arab claimants, did the Israeli government actually authorize the construction of Jewish communities in this disputed area. Israeli courts have forbidden the Israel government from confiscating any Arab-owned land for Jewish settlement since 1980. And the Israel government has not authorized any new settlements since the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” began in 1993.

Not even the so-called “unauthorized” or “illegal” Jewish settlements, those that the Israeli government has not fully and expressly authorized, are built on Arab-owned land. Both the authorized and unauthorized Jewish communities were all built on what had been completely unoccupied, uncultivated and uninhabited “waste land.” No Arab homes were destroyed, no Arab residents were expelled, and no Arab farmland was seized in creating any of these Jewish communities—whether their construction was fully authorized by the Israeli government or not. And under the land ownership laws of Judea and Samaria — which date to when these territories were under Turkish rule, and which have been respected by all subsequent governments, including the Israeli administration — nearly all uninhabited and completely undeveloped “waste land” belongs to the state, not to any private owner. While such land could legally be purchased from the state, there were almost no instances in which Arabs actually did purchase such “waste land,” because they would have had to pay taxes on it while deriving no benefit for the foreseeable future. Whatever few purchases of such land were made, were made by Jewish philanthropists hoping to provide land for future Jewish refugees or immigrants....

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.