My persecutors are powerful, my enemies accuse me falsely. Am I expected to return things I didn't steal? Psalm 69:4
Beit el - Bethel - (means house of God)
The narrative of Jews /Zionists arriving in Palestine and stealing land from the inhabitants is heard all the time. The fact that the land was purchased never, or seldom, gets mentioned.
Ludwig Schneider tells the story in Israel Today Magazine. November 2010
It is said that during the 1930s, as well as when the State of Israel was established in 1948, the Jews drove the Arabs out of their land. The goal of these allegations is to make anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism socially and politically acceptable. Any factual counter-arguments are dismissed as being biased and are ignored by the media, so only the anti-Israel narrative remains in the public eye. So-called "peace activists" accept the claims of the Palestinians without checking them out, and then condemn Israel.
A reliable account of the situation in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), which at that time was called Palestine, can be found in a 1937 report of the British Palestine Royal Commission which, as is well known, was not a friend of the Jews. The report says that the Hula Valley in the north of the country was infested with mosquitoes. The landowners were Syrians in Damascus, who leased out the marshes to Arab or Egyptian peasants (fellahs), who lived in primitive mud huts and inevitably fell sick with malaria.
The first thing the Jewish National Fund did in 1934 was to purchase 51 square miles of this marshland for 900,000 Palestinian pounds ($4.5 million) and set up 20 Jewish settlements on it. These Jews battled malaria, yellow fever and the Middle Eastern sun to drain the swamps and reclaim the land.
What the swamps were in the north, the desert, which had to be artificially irrigated, was in the south; and the center of the country was a stony, desolate wasteland. The Arab landlords, who lived abroad and owned large estates, did nothing to solve these problems.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire was in such a poor state after ruling over the Holy Land for 400 years (1517-1917), that wealthy Arab landowners from Syria, Egypt and Lebanon were able to kick out the fellahs and Bedouins and acquire enormous tracts of real estate. Then they made a huge profit by selling the land to Jews from Europe and America.
According to "Turkish government records, in 1915, 3,130,000 dunams of Palestinian land was owned by 144 Arab landowners; so on average, each family owned 22,000 dunams. From early times, the dunam was the only valid unit for measuring land area in Palestine. One dunam is 1,000 square meters and there are 4 dunams in an acre.
The farmers who leased the properties were forced to pay onerous interest rates to the Arab landlords of up to 60 percent, and many tenants were left destitute, losing both house and home. Ultimately, the Arab landowners drove out their Muslim brothers so that they could sell the land for large amounts of money to the Jews.
The Jewish National Fund set up blue and white (Israel's national colors) collection boxes all over the world and received generous contributions from Jewish patrons, which were used to buy property in the Holy Land. Of the 429,887 dunams that the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association purchased from private owners, 293,54 dunams almost 70 percent-was uncultivated land that Arab proprietors living abroad had sold to Jews.
By 1937, the amount purchased by Jews increased to 579,492 dunams, and by 1948 almost 80 percent of the land available for sale had been bought up by the Jewish people. The rest of the land was ownerless desert, which was taken over by Israel after the establishment of the state.
When the League of Nations handed the mandate over to Britain in 1922, it stipulated firmly in Article 6 that the "Palestine administration should work together with the Jewish Agency to encourage intensive settlement of the land by Jews, which should include the land owned by the state and the uncultivated or waste land, as long as this land is not needed for official purposes."
It is astonishing that nowadays nobody seems to be interested in the facts. While everyone has an opinion about this conflict, few take the trouble to check out how the Land of Israel legally became Jewish property. People prefer to embrace the stereotypical Palestinian lies which accuse the Jewish state of forcibly driving the Palestinians out of their homes, although this was mostly done by Arab landlords who cared nothing about "Palestine." Today, the Arab world is trying to push the "crimes" of their ancestors, who effectively "sold out" Palestine 80 years ago, onto the Jews and the State of Israel.
For generations Jews who dreamed of Zion collected their pennies so the Jewish National Fund could purchase land in Israel. Today illegal Arab building on JNF lands goes unchecked by Israel's leaders.
No fewer than 700 illegal housing units have been built by Arabs in the past two years on land purchased for Jews by the JNF in northern Jerusalem.
Arutz Sheva contacted the JNF to ask about the problem. However, JNF officials say the Israel Land Authority is responsible for administering the lands on their behalf. Aryeh King, chairman of the Israel Land Fund, says his organization is conducting a careful survey of the illegal structures using aerial photographs, but adds the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the illegal building occurs beyond Israel's security fence. Lands bought by the JNF are on both sides of the fence.
Reported by Arutz Sheva 21/02/2012
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