The Land Ownership in Jenin(1858-1918)

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Amin Abu Bakr/supervisor
Dr.Hammad Hussen/external examiner
Dr.Adnan melhem/internal examiner
Dr. Amin Abu Bakr
Mahmoud Rajeh Mohammed Abu Al Wafa
This study examines the status of property in Jenin District according to the Ottoman regulations, particularly from 1958 when the Ottoman Land Law was enacted (which is the first law issued on land) until the demise of the Ottoman Empire following the defeat in the First World War in 1918. Jenin District is bordered by Tiberias, Nazareth and Haifa in the north; Tulkarem and Nablus in the south; Haifa and Tulkarm in the west (in the past it stretched west to the Mediterranean coast at the mouth of the River Iskenderun); and the Jordan River in the east. During feudalism, there were three forms of fiefs prevailing in this area, namely: Altemar (with an annual income between 3000 to 19000 Akjeh); Leaders (with an annual income between 19000 to 99000), primarily for senior army commanders; and Private (with an annual income exceeding 99000 Akjeh). The land of the third category was ignificantly fertile and it was allocated for the Sultan and his senior ministers, leaders and soldiers. Social feudalism is another category prevailed in Jenin, such as the feudal land of the House of Abdulhadi in Arraba village. In 1826, the three forms gave way to military feudalim, along with social feudalism, so as to bring security and stability in the region for a while. and. However, the Egyptian Campaign (and the Empire's concern to face it) perpetuated the form of social feudalism. This arguably put the Egyptian government in a dilemma as it started to fear revolutions and strikes. The Egyptian government found in the Sultan's resolution of solving fiefs an opportunity to eradicate the feudalism inherited from the era of the Seljuk. Ottoman military regulations coincided with land regulations so as to find sources to fund military purpose. However, the strikes and the chaos brought about by the Egyptian Campaign, as well as the subsequent civil wars and foreign interventions had delayed the issuance of the law governing land issues until 1858, to be put in force in 1869 in Palestine. This put the territory in a state of chaos as powerful people controlled the judiciary given the weakness of the State. This, in turn, gave the influential people more control on additional areas of land. These people could afford the costs of cultivation and taxes. The Ottoman Land Law is a civil law that regulates immovable properties. It divided the land into five categories: . King land: This is a private property that is subject to the provisions of personal disposition of funds, such as sale, gift, inheritance, construction, demolition, etc. and.Princely land: This is a state-owned land given to farmers for farming under bonds, and is considered the most prevalent category: fields, spring nurseries, summer and winter pastures and woods.Alwaqf (Endowment) land: This is supervised by the religious institution. and. Granted land: This is the type of land the State allowed the population to take benefit of, such as roads, railways and squares.and. Deserted Land is a no-man's land with no housing and no buildings, and away from urbanism. With regard to levels of ownership, Jenin district identified with three levels of property, namely: Small properties with 205-450 dunums (differ according to location: plain vs. mountains). and.Medium properties range from 500-900 dunums to 2500-4500 dunums, and are by far less than small properties. and. Large properties mainly possessed by senior traders, the Senates and influential people (The Houses of Abdulhadi, Rsheid, Jarrar, Property of Sultan Abdul Hamid, and House of Sorsok). However the property in that era was affected by a combination of factors, particularly natural factors (heat, rain, snow, earthquakes, diseases and epidemics that impacted the pattern of ownership); and human factors (civil wars, the remnants of the feudal system, taxation and conscription). These factors saddled farmers with debt, eventually forcing them to sell their land to have the money. The land surveying and registration process in Jenin started at the directive of the Sultan following the issuance of the Land Registry Decree in 1859, which involved the definition of land, its borders, its area, the right to dispose of it, and attributing lands to their owners, and, as such, giving them ownership certificates.
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