Israel's Discriminatory Land Policies - by Stephen Lendman
Israel's late 1947 -1948 "War of Independence" took six months to create a new Jewish state, excluding Arabs to the greatest extent possible. To accomplish it, widespread war crimes and atrocities were committed as about 800,000 people were brutally uprooted, ethnically cleansed, or murdered in cold blood. In addition, 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities were destroyed and erased except in the collective memories of their inhabitants and descendants who'll always consider them their rightful homes.
Shortly after, laws were passed to legitimize the seizure and exclusive Jewish use of Palestinian land. The June 1948 Abandoned Areas Ordinance referred to "any area or place conquered by or surrendered to armed forces or deserted by all or part of its inhabitants." It gave the Israeli government exclusive jurisdiction rights, including "expropriation and confiscation (authority over) movable and immovable property, within any abandoned area." It meant displaced Palestinians were prohibited from returning and claiming their property that by law was no longer theirs.
The September 1948 Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance stated that "Any law applying to the whole of the State of Israel" applies as well "to the whole of the area including....any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defence has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defence Army of Israel." It meant that Palestinians lost all rights and were subject to whatever laws Israel enacted.
In March 1950, the Absentees' Property Law (ABL) defined an absentee as:
"a person who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) has ceased to exist (and no longer) was a legal owner of any property situated in the area of Israel...."
The ABL transfered property owner rights to a Custodian of Absentee Property. It made him liable to the real owner for the value, but prohibited the return of his land. Israeli law stole it to have Palestinians remaining in Israel relocated and declared "Absentees," no longer rightful owners of their property.
In July 1950, The Development Authority (Transfer of Property) Law was a legal ploy to shield Israel from being accused of having confiscated abandoned Palestinian land and whatever was on it.
The Development Authority (DA) was established as an independent body to buy, sell, lease, exchange, repair, build, develop and/or cultivate seized property. Henceforth, only transactions between Jews or a Jewish entity were allowed. It was understood that "under no circumstances should the (expelled) Arabs return to Israel."
In July 1960, Israel Lands Administration Law established an "Israel Lands Administration. (ILA)" At the same time, Israel's Basic Law affirmed that "ownership of Israel Lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel (KKL - Jewish National Fund, JNF), shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner." Lands were defined to mean "land, houses, buildings and any thing permanently fixed to land."
On its web site, the ILA states that it controls 93% of Israeli land as "public domain; that is, either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) or the Development Authority (DA)." The ILA "is the government agency responsible for managing this land which comprises 4,820,500 acres (19,508,000 dunams). 'Ownership' of real estate usually means leasing rights from the ILA for 49 or 98 years."
ILA's legal framework stems from "four cornerstones:"
-- the 1960 Basic Law: Israel Lands;
-- the 1960 Lands Law;
-- the 1960 Israel Land Administration; and
-- the 1960 "Covenant between the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organization (Jewish National Fund)."