Land Ownership in Jeneen District During the British Government 1918-1948

Discussion Committee: 
D. Nezam Ezat AL-Abbasi
Mu`een Mohammad Isma`el Abdullah
Jenin is a Palestinian city, which was built on the ruin (rubble-stones ) of the Arab Canaanite city Ein-Janeem which means Garden's well. The Assyrians and Babylonians documents remarked it in the name of Ein- Janeem, Then it was destroyed during the Romans rule, and was replaced by a new village called Jinyai. The Byzantines named it Jinya. In the seventh century, it was called Jinyeen, and it was changed to Jenin. Jenin city is situated near the end of the northern Heights of Nablus, which meet Ibn Amir Plain. As for Jenin district, it was developed in 1882, it contains 81 villages, then it reached to 120 ones in 1917, and decreased to 70 ones after Beisan district was isolated. So, the borders of Jenin are the following; Haifa, Nazareth and Beisan districts are located to the north of Jenin. Haifa and Tulkarm are from the west. Nablus and Beisan are from the east. After that the district land was divided into three fundamental areas: Haritha land with 30 villages, AL-Jarar Mashareeq with 20 ones, and the Eastern Sha`rawiyah with 20 ones. According to the British Mandate Government statistics, in 1945, the total area of Jenin district was ( 835,214 Km2 ) but ( 2,746 Km2 ) are roads, valleys, and railways, and ( 4,251 Km2 ) were expropriated from Nouras, Zubouba, Zirrr`in, Moqaibleh, Tinnik, Selat- alharithyeh and Rummaneh land to the Jews. The population of the district in 1922 was about ( 36,161 )but 2627 who lived in Jenin city. Then it increased to ( 61,210 ) in 1946, but ( 4310 ) lived in the city. As a result of the Ottoman's law of lands ownership in 1858, The state divided the land into five parts, as follows: 1-AL-mamlok land: all the lands owned by persons or groups who have the right over it to be inherited or donated, such as buying and selling, pledge and inheritance. 2-AL-Ameira land ( Public land ): those lands that include forests and pastures and can be owned by the state, supervised by the rulers. But persons or groups reclaim or buy it, so its products refer to the government. 3-AL-Mawqoofa land: these land are supervised by the religious institutions, such, AL-waqf, AL-Thari and the Public Waqf. And their owners donated them in order to spend on the poor. and no one has the right to own it. 4-AL-Matroka land ( Abonded lands ): Those lands are classified as natural reserves, those lands were left by the Government to the people for public benefit and cannot be owned, such as roads, free land which are granted to the people of a village, and the low explained how they can be used. They are divided into the lawful and the public one. 5-AL-Mawat lands: those lands are empty from inhabitants and not cultivated. No one has the right to own them. They are far away and it takes half an hour to cross it, They are dead lands which can be granted by the government. The kinds of land ownership are known as: A-The small land ownerships, which consist of small farmers who own between ( 205-457 ) dunums, then it shrank to the minimum of 50 dunums, which became well – known style in Jenin, exclusively after 1930. B-The middle land ownerships: the total area of this category is between ( 500-914 ) dunums then their owning became smaller and smaller as it happens with small landownership category. C-The large land ownerships, which comes from the political and economical developments in the ninetieth century in Palestine, and the beginning of the twentieth century. This type of the land ownerships was known in Jenin; as the historical document s indicate to six families in Jenin district who have 114 thousand dunums of land, fifty thousands dunums belonged to Abdalhady family. The Ottomans action of reformation accompanied the issue of group of laws concerning the land. The most dangerous law was the one belongs to the foreigners` possession in 1868, which allowed the foreigners to posses land all over the country. The Zionist associations were the most benefitful form this law, which enabled them to posses about 300,000 dunums during thirty years after its issue in Palestine. Since, Palestine was occupied by Britain, the British Government hasted to issue a group of laws which harmed the public benefits for the Palestinians, such as: 1-The expropriation low for the sake of army and aviation forces, which allowed them to expropriate and dominate the land for military purposes. 2-Settling down ( confiscating ) the land: The registering department lands exploited it and confiscated large quantities of framers lands who has no proof of owning or not cultivating the land for three years successively. 3-The forest law, which permitted the British high commissioner to declare interdicting any area under pretence of keeping and saving the trees which confiscated 34 forests in Jenin district, the total area of it is 175,371 dunums are considered as forbidden lands. 4-The adjustment act property right: The aim of issuing this law was to destroy the system of the Masha` ( common ) land which was prevalent in Palestine, to allow the government posses it. These lows as well as the taxations of AL-Weirko, AL-O`shor and the animals, which were imposed on people by the Ottomans, and the English governments, participated in making the Palestinian farmers poor and consequently he was obliged to leave his land for misters-category who possessed large areas of land without any connection from their side towards the land for the benefit of the rich people_ Alafandeya rank who becomes big owners of large arias without any connection to it. So, they gave these lands up easily in front of the high payments by the Zionist institutions such as Peka, Keiren Kayaimet ,Keiren Hayasood. By these cunning methods, the Zionist associations succeeded in owning one million and two hundred thousands donums of the most fertile land in Palestine, invested them to establish the new Jewish immigrants, who arrived in Palestine and became 445,000 people in1939 distributing on 252 settlements. In front of this coming great danger, the Palestinian National Movement gathered its strength to defend its national identity which was threatened by the Zionist activity, so it used all the resistant means, such as holding meets, demonstrations, and stroked and sending protest telegrams. When these means did not get benefit, the Palestinian people were compelled ( pushed ) to struggle and fight in advance of their leadership, who followed them for its interests. Worth mentions that all the Palestinian people organizations participated in the resistance process. Some of them are: A-The religious institutions used the mosques, churches which alarmed ( warned ) people about the potential dangers beyond the continuous conveying of the Arab lands to Jews. In addition to that, the religious men, the preachers, and breasts roamed about the villages to warn people against selling their land to Jews or dealing with group of middlemen. B-The National newspapers, such as AL-Karmel, AL-Defa`, AL-Jamea`h AL-Arabia, and Palestine, which published essays on their papers, criticized the prejudicial (unfair ) policy for the sake of Jews, asked the citizens to seize their lands and not to waste or neglect them, and not to deal with the middle men, which defamed them and to oblige them to stop their bad errands. The small abilities for the national movement in resisting gave fruitful in the fierce attack of Zionist, comparing with the greats abilities which the Zionist organization activities. The Arab Palestinian efforts got benefit when they limited or decreased the Zionist immigration and building settlements especially during the great revolution in 1937-1939.
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