When Arabs Confiscated Jewish-Owned Land

(Jerusalem Post) Lyn Julius - The EU assumes that the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are "Arab land." Yet it is little known that thousands of Arab squatters in "Arab east Jerusalem" live on land still owned by the Jewish National Fund. The Kalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem and the Deheishe refugee camp south of Bethlehem were built on JNF land. In the 1920s and 30s, Iraqi and Iranian Jews queued up to buy parcels of JNF land; after the 1948 war, 145,976 dunams of Jewish land came under Jordanian rule. In addition, the Jewish National Fund purchased 73,974 dunams in the Golan Heights beginning in the 1880s. Moreover, at least 13 villas and public buildings around Cairo's Tahrir Square (including the present Swiss, German, Canadian, Russian, U.S., Korean, Bahraini and Algerian embassies) were once the residences of wealthy Jews - until the properties were seized by the Egyptian state. The Jewish owners never received compensation and were summarily expelled in the 1950s. The issue of Jewish settlements has to be seen in the context of the mass exchange of land and population between Jews and Arabs across the entire region. According to economist Sidney Zabludoff, the Jewish refugees lost assets worth twice as much as those abandoned by Palestinian refugees. The writer is co-founder of Harif, an association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa in the UK.

2013-08-16 00:00:00

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