Are JNF lands a Pandora’s Box

Meron Benvenisti responded to “Mazuz versus Herzl” (Haaretz, May 25), in which Israel Harel reminds us that we grew up on the ethos of the Jewish National Fund’s “blue box” for donations, whereby thanks to our small coins, the JNF’s lands were redeemed.

For Israel Harel’s information: Of the more than 2.5 million dunams owned by the JNF, two million dunams were not purchased with the small coins put into the blue boxes, but were rather lands abandoned by Arabs that David Ben-Gurion, in a typical maneuver, “sold” to the JNF in 1949-1950. The first deal was clinched on January 27, 1949. It included the sale of a million dunams of abandoned land in various areas in return for about 18 million Israeli pounds.

He says these lands “were abandonned by Arabs”. He does not say whether they owned the lands or were just squatters. He refers to Res 181 which recommended that the Arabs be allowed to return as if this gave them rights.

Israel also took over title to much land and set up a fund to compensate the owners. More on this later. Does anyone know the facts.

May 29, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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  1. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 has no legal significance whatsoever, because General Assembly resolutions have zero legal force (and a great deal less moral force).

    Much of the land abandoned by Arabs must fall into the category of undeveloped state lands. In any event, when an aggressor starts a fight and produces refugees of its own people, then the aggressor has to resettle the refugees. Germany, for instance, was forced to resettle 12 million ethnic Germans in a Germany reduced by one-fifth following World War II. The refugees have no title to any part of Israel.

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