How did the Zionists acquire land in Palestine?

The on-going conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews is not a new one but has been there for centuries with its roots not in the difference of the religions but for the fight over land. Until 1948, the land that is now divided into the state of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip was known as Palestine. Jewish claim on Israel comes from the biblical promise that God made to Abraham and his descendents and on the historical fact that the Jewish kingdom of Israel was located. The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, claim their right on the land stating that they have been living here for centuries now with a demographic majority. They also refute Jewish notion that they need a haven from Europe’s anti-Semitism as they believe that they should not be forfeiting their land to compensate Jews for Europe’s injustices towards them.


The state of Israel, with Zionists as its dominant ideology is based illegally on mostly the land that they seized from Arabs after the 1948 war. The land they took belonged rightfully to the Palestinians who lost their homes, jobs and farm lands and a large number of them were forced to take refuge in Lebanon where they are living in poor living conditions in the refugee camps.

At the beginning, Zionists were but a handful of people who showed that they have a longing for the Holy Land. However, this spiritual longing had more to it with power-seeking Jews devising a plan for taking over the whole land, making use of the British as their source. Since 1948, when Israel declared establishment of an Israeli state and a huge population of Jews immigrated to the land, Zionists have systematically seized Palestinians of their belongings, resources and also the resources of the neighboring countries. The occupation kept expanding so much so that at present, Palestinian land is nothing but a few patches.

Zionists discovered that they are up against a land which was not uninhabited but densely populated unlike their claimed, nor was it is available for them. Moreover, they found that the ownership system and land tenure was not without its complexities. The land that was available was expensive with its value increasing with the growing population due to immigration. Another Zionist assumption, through which they hoped that the Mandate will become their basis for accessing the land, turned out to be unrealistic. From the data, it is clear that Jews and Zionists acquired land in three different periods. The three percent of the land which Jews owned in 1922 rose up to seven percent of the total land area of the country till 1947 due to the Jewish immigration.

Until the time of general armistice of the 1948 war, the situation had changed to the point that Israel had taken over 77 percent of the Palestinian land with a substantial amount of the good soil, classified in the British Mandate as among the three types of soils present. The expropriation was also made to the privately owned land by the Arabs where 80% of it was confiscated by the Israelis with another 40 percent taken away from the Palestinians. According to an estimate, the total loss resulting from the unjust land acquisition by the Zionists reached up to 7.43 billion pounds.

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§ 30 Responses to How did the Zionists acquire land in Palestine?

  • Martin Koschuttnig (Vienna/Austria) says:

    Greetings,

    I would like to know, how much money did a worker doing menial labor actually earn in the 1920 leading up to the independence of Israel? Since many times from Muslims the claim is made, “Jews stole our land”, how could workers who just come from outside of Israel, earn so much money that they not only were able to buy the land, but also build “beautiful” homes, which could be taken from them? And all this in less then 15 years?

    Martin K.

    • Gil tohar says:

      It wasn’t in 15 years, but about 58 years, starting with the first Aliyah

    • Gil tohar says:

      And there were groups raising money to buy land, such as the jnf, whose main goal was to buy land and then to make it usable for agriculture. And they bought it all legally from willing Palestinians, who at the time weren’t even considered Palestinians, just people living in the mandate of Palestine. The rest of the middle east, although Arab too, wouldn’t recognize them as an official people

  • Marc Jussaume says:

    There is no sense rehashing ; Alan Dershowitz , described as youngest tenured professor at the Harvard Law School, wrote from what I can see an excellent and well balanced book, The Case For Israel…For me with limited time to spend a lot of time to verify, it seems very well done, as to general concensus I read this consited of being well balanced, intellectually honest with a few points to be improved on, nothing major.After all this is to be expected, this is not the man’s full time job.

    Some will label him an apologist. I for one have read the counterclaims, seeking intellectual honesty, with an open mind, and I frankly cannot comprehend the logic of the prime attackers. Nothing on the fundamentals, objections when examined are essentially on points about whether some credits for sources of statements were properly given, others on non relevant points and which when pushed to their conclusion actually prove exactly what Dershowitz claims. All very strange and in the guise of academic freedom. At a previous soirée I listened about the supposed big revelations, brandished by a seemingly calm and intelligent looking engineer in a grouping with Lebanese present, with him stating the total destruction of Dershowitz by XYZ in a series of well listened TV debates… I found it surprising and said to myself to seek more, looking up the matter that night on the internet. It turns out to be convoluted logic. And I find this incredible as again last night I was in a fine restaurant, eating at the bar, with the image of a TV, and next to me an elegant and seemingly intelligent woman of 33 from France and Turkey. Images flashed , about the proposed resolution for recognition of Palestine, crowds in Turkey waving Palestinian flags… I was asked my opinion and I again made a curt observation about the populated lands having essentially all been purchased by Lords Rothschild and Montefiore,a suggestion for her to look up the Dershowitz book…well, nedless to say the tone went up markedly, raising the voice about things concerning the Mandate, 1947,…anyhow there was absolutely no discussion to be had because of a total lack of facts on her part as a result of obvious indoctrination. I simply and promptly just closed the subject.

    What shall we label these facts ? ” Inconvenient facts ” ?

    Again I am open to listening, but the argumentation is pretty tenuous.

    This is not the first time it happens; the Palestinians make great victims.Unfortunately by their own allies.And unfortunately they elicit a lot of sympathy as perceived underdogs.

    M.

    • Ant Aloy says:

      Dear Contributor

      It is worth adding that a two-state solution is the only viable alternative. The Palestinians have been and continue to suffer a serious injustice.

      The colonial and illegal expansion of settlements (a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and existing UN Resolutions) is a deliberate attempt by Prime Minister Netanyahu to prevent Palestine from being viable and contiguous. The ‘separation barrier’ is a monstrosity (over 700 Km when completed) and three times the length of the Berlin Wall; it has divided the Palestinian West Bank into cantons where there are separate roads for colonial settlers and their illegal settlements. It is separate development in all but name. The ‘separation barrier’ was condemned by the International Court of Justice in the Hague and their ruling was supported by the European Union. This ruling has been repeatedly ignored by Israel as have over 150 UN Resolutions (an example is listed below).

      It is unclear why Mr Netanyahu objected to UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine (supported by France, Spain, Norway, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus and Belgium) last year and why he has not added Israel’s name to the other 130 nations (including Russia, China, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iceland and Thailand) that have recognised Palestine and have bilateral relations. Perhaps the reason is that Mr Netanyahu believes that settlements are justified (including those in Occupied Arab East Jerusalem) and that Palestine should not be sovereign, contiguous or viable.

      Thank you.

      Best wishes

      Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980 – BINDING

      The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible; deeply concerned over the enactment of a “basic law” in the Israeli Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the “basic law” on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

      http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/DDE590C6FF232007852560DF0065FDDB

      Reply

  • Chris Hannan says:

    Taken from the “Inquirer” Newspaper, Perth, Australia, Wednesday, 2 March 1853, Page 3:
    RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.  
    The Rothschilds.— Although the great London capitalist, the elder Rothschild, who died a few years ago, was a man whose thoughts were absorbed by his vast monetary transactions, his sons who carry on the great financial establishment which he founded are men of a larger stamp. One of them, Baron Rothschild, is still determined to persevere in his struggle with the House of Commons, in claiming to sit as a Jewish representative, without taking the oath, ‘on the true faith of a Christian.’ It has also been known that at least one of the Rothschilds indulges in the somewhat magnificent dream of being able to obtain possession of Jerusalem, and of being enabled to restore his Hebrew brethren to the Holy Land. If recent accounts are to be credited, he has all but accomplished the grand object of his ambition, not like the Crusaders, by the power of the sword, but by the great modern weapon —the power of money. It is stated that advices from Constantinople announces that the Divan has decided the question of the Holy Land, by giving to M. Rothschild the four Pachalics (Provinces) of Syria for the sum of five hundred millions of francs, to be deposited in the treasury of the Sultan. France will resign her pretensions to former treaties for the sum of fifty millions, and a remuneration of twenty-five millions will be given to Prussia and England for their claims. It is not yet known what title M. Rothschild will assume but it is affirmed that he will endeavour, by a solemn appeal, to induce his Israelitish brethren to re-enter the tents of Abraham and Jacob, and to aid him in restoring Jerusalem, Antioch, Tadmor, &c, and in re-building the Temple in its pristine magnificence.

  • Colin Bell says:

    This is very clearly a Jewish site so why are you pretending to speak for Palestine ? What a dishonest mis-representation. This site is full of nonsense

    • jonmariegarlan says:

      this site is without a doubt a pro Israel propaganda machine. the sources need to be checked out. if your looking for an objective view get off this page.

  • neel says:

    All these comments stating claims as facts can not be verified so easily as you can verify the current standing of the population of Palestine. At this point in time, there is a small piece of land which has been leased by the UN to home the people who were displaced either willingly or forcefully from the current state of israel. Thise people are STILL there, their children are still there. That same piece of land is STILL on lease and ALL those people used to live in what is now Israel. Now lets say these people left their homes willingly because of fear of being killed in war. Should they not be allowed to return? I live in UK, if this country was about to be attacked, I too will probably make plans to leave my home for safety. But i would want to return when the mess is over. Question is, will the British government say to me no you can’t come back to your home? or would I have the ability to excercise my right of return under the Geneva Conventions? So tell me again, if the Jews living in Israel were so peace loving and did not force anybody out, WHAT are those refuges doing in Syria on that small piece of leased out land? This is one fact that anybody could go and verify, right this day, this very moment. So lets forget about what happend 100 years ago, as nor you or I can verify those facts/claims and try to answer this one question, which we can verify even today. Anybody have any answers?

    • Jerry Meents says:

      If the Jews forced the Arabs out Palestine how come life magazine of 1948 shows Arab soldiers helping Arabs to leave?
      The overwelding of the Palestinians were fored to leave by there leaders and by promises that they could go back in a few weeks, and could take anything the Jews left behind.
      I was a volunteer in the Israeli Army in 1948 and my Brigade was never ask or were ordered to throw the Palestinians out or remove them with force.

    • calev dan says:

      sir, you surely must see a psychiatrist

  • Leopold says:

    Only after 1948 could a legitimate claim be made that “Jews stole our land”as abandoned houses or villages were taken over by the successful Israeli state which had defeated the attacking armies of the Arab neighbours. Up until that time all land for Jewish settlement was bought from the Turks or Arab owner and registered with the Turkish land Registry (Tapu or tabu).
    Don’t forget that 1948 only saw a ‘cease fire’ not a peace. The first peace agreement signed was with Sadat of Egypt and he was assassinated for that.

  • Robert Weber says:

    The information presented on this site does have a Pro-Israeli slant to it. This is my first visit to the site and I expected to find a more objective presentation of the facts. What is clear to me is that the Palestinians were literally pushed off the land that they had lived on for centuries. The Palestinian Arabs were poor and uneducated. They had worked the land which was owned by Turkish royalty. They had no knowledge that the land on which they had lived and worked was being sold out from under them, only to become a new country which systematically pushed them out. This is much closer to the truth.

    • Karl says:

      Amazing conclusion Mr. Weber!
      I am not aware of any law, anywhere in the world saying that “poor uneducated people working a land” which they don’t actually own – are given ownership rights once it was bought by Jews??!!! Maybe the American Natives (North & South) and Australian Natives and Japanese, and Indonesians, and… -were “systematically pushed out” and decimated, but not so the Arabs invaders/settlers of a region renamed “Palestina” (The Land of the Philistines?). Amazingly -their number and land ownership increased tenfold since the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland- can you explain this?

  • Herb Benty says:

    because of the inhuman suffering of the Jewish nation over thousands of years the u. n. declared Israel a nation in 1948. even stalin( guilt?), voted in favor of allowing this development- and rightly so.God Almighty is gathering His people to save them, as he promised.No decree by the roman empire, no machinations by the ” palestinians” can do anything about what God is doing with the modern state of Israel. Even we christians,( I mean real christians that love the Jewish people), are only “grafted in” to the promises,( read the book of Romans carefully). I have been to Israel and could not help but love them; only in a very evil world could a people such as the Jews be a stumbling block. h.b.

  • maria says:

    I was looking for some information about then origin of the last name Sirias, I have heard that in 1856 some men came to America running away from the Otoman Empire , could someone give me some information about this, please.

  • ana says:

    The convertion of land area of 10 ha into Acres (orange groves in Jaffa) is not correct.

  • Errol says:

    In Reply to Robert
    just because facts give a perception of pro Isreal does not change the facts from being facts.
    Most of the Land was purchased legally and properly just as a tennant may not be aware the owner is selling the house he is renting.
    That which came as a result of the 6 day war needs to be set in the context of the alliance of the majority of Arab nations being the agressors with the still current motive to wipe Israel of the map and this is still the situation. By changing the focus from Arabs versus Israel to Israel versus Palestine we change the perception of who really is the minority and therefore change the emotive aspect. Israel is primarily defending itself in almost all areas of complaint and sadly the Arabs are using their own people living in palestine as the disposable bait for a fight.

    • Rachael Shams-Avari says:

      In Reply to Errol,
      It has been apparent to me all along that you still consider this a Jewish vs Arab. conflict The fact is that the Levant was never made up of only Jews and Arabs. The Levant has always had a mix of people(As has the rest of the middle East). I think the reality is more correct to call this a Jewish vs non-Jew conflict. The Patriarchs are of the Amorties and the Amorites are the medianites who are also Arab. When Abram left Ur and went by way of Haran to the Levant he entered Hittitic Kingdom, and the Hurrian/Mittani (Indo-european and indo_iranian). The Land was ruled by the Indo-Europeans and Indo-IRanians jointly with the Egyptians and those peop;le lived there. So did other Amorites. Thus you have based your claims of original entitlement upon a mythology-you weren’t the kings there first. Then after years of conquests and various migrations back and forth and various changes in religions, there still existed original people in the Levant who had interbred with all the different peoples who migrated to that land. So no, European and United States Jews cannot claim themselves entitled to the land in the Levant because the entire claim is a mythology. AND European Jews and US Jews moved into the Levant and killed the people that were living there to take the homes those people had bought and paid for or inherited generation after generation Furthermore, there has been a numerous amount of Jews who have behaved as though they are entitled to ‘kill and hide the bodies in the cellar’ so to speak. And after this violence and plundering the jews created a group of refugee non-jews and they tell the world-here look at them-they are Arabs and they can’t take care of themselves-or the Arabs ca,e after we got here and are jealous that we have this land-when it is the people that lived there whose homes were stolen and their children-still creating this entitlement from a mythos. The only reason the request was given by Britain was due to Britain’s need to have a foot in the middle east not because of a belief in the mythos. I am sick and tired of hearing a lie-that is the people who originally inhabited the cities that were non-jews were of low class and were strictly Arab. That is not the case-that is the ‘hiding the bodies in the cellar’ routine. Furthermore,Arabs and Jews are the same people-they are descended from the Amorites-the people the Sumerians called the mari. The lies are incredible-the history of the Hebrews IS NOT a floating history if you are taking to mean Jews are descended from Hebrews-there is a definite timeframe for the existence. The mythos is the idea of entitlement over the Levant in modern times.

  • Andrea Gaudiau says:

    I love all these comments that the people did not “own” the land. Perhaps there was some land “purchased”, (I remember the Americans buying Manhattan for beads), but truly anyone who has studied even a bit of history, sees what happened here. History repeats itself and I am curious as to why Israel will not simply place themselves in the role of the conqueror.

    They were able to do terrible things because after WW2, world sympathy was with them; perhaps justafiable so. They came, they devastated, killed, displaced and expelled the Palestinians. Ok, we get it you won. Now don’t be mad if the people want their land back. It’s called civil war.

    I’m waiting for the day that the US says, “You’re on your own, were not supplying weapons, money or support to either side.”

  • JHWH says:

    Numbers and facts show that, religion aside, the state of Israel comprises a bunch of second and third generation white European and American immigrants living on land stolen from the Arabs by the British for the purpose. With a nuclear stockpile. To be fair, the U.K. and U.S. had pretty much closed their borders to Europe’s Jews the whole time they were being persecuted, so they didn’t have much choice- and it did start out well, what with lands being bought fairly etc., however once critical mass was reached the violence started, just like with Moses and the Canaanites, or the Protestants in Northern Ireland, who were put there by the British to get them out of the way with no consideration at all for the Irish Catholics who were already there.

  • dim says:

    Israel has been stealing land from the inhabitants for 60 years. Illegal settlements are the true cause of any friction today. israel will continue to slowly genocide these people till they have all the land. Lets not pretend, ok

    Does Palestine have a right to exist?

  • Ejilasisi Seyifunmi says:

    I think the best solution to this,is to have two states,it will be really fair if Israel will actually stop building housing estates on places mend for the Palestinians,like the E1 zone,if the European nations sees the rights of Israel to exist,they should all agree that the palestinians have equal rights too. Let me say this clearly for peace to reign in that part of world, the EU,US and the UN will have to sanction Israel on the newly built settlement . I am tired of EU,US sanctioning countries like DRC and not doing anything when nations like Israel commits crime against Palestinians,it is high time that the world power forgets the injustices melted against the Jews during the Holocaust and address the Israel’s ways of treating the Palestinians. I am not an Arab nor Israeli but I think most injustices comes from the way EU and US handles matters that are not directly affecting them forgetting that the world has become a global village and in the interest of all stake holders in this setting we need true justice and not world powers just talking and taking no necessary actions. The U.K and the US needs to stop selling arms to either party involved. US and the European communities are all guilty of all injustices going on around world today. The monster we have today were created by the greed and quest for power by the US and the European nations simply through their divide and rule them strategy. To Netayahu- He who wants justice come with clean hands,he is as guilty as the Palestinians he is pointing. accusing fingers at. In my conclusion of this delicate matter,the Palestinians and the Israelis needs to come to real term of peace by peaceful co existence by each nation allowing for two states and to stop the so called world Power from feeding with lies,the under ground politics of the EU and the US is to turn people against each other.

  • calev dan says:

    after world war2 huge! (compared to tiny israel) patches of land changed ownership – due only to the “right of the winner”: east prussia, silesia, sudetes. with millions of people thrown out of their homes which they inhabited for thousands years. where were you all, fighters for justice? and thousands of people are uprooted on daily basis all around the world. where are you all, fighters for justice?
    the land of israel (smaller then new jersey, with 70% desert) is your only concern. ah-h, yes – dirty jews!
    this land – the land of israel always belonged to the people of israel. the arabs came there as conquerors and occupants, the “hated zionists” liberated the land from the occupants-moslems (remember spanish “reconquista”?)
    The only just way to solve the so-called “palestinian problem” is to throw ALL arab occupants out of the homeland of the jews. Let them go home – to the 20+ moslem countries (vast teritories and, btw, also taken by the power of sword!)

  • idris says:

    The two state solution will never come about. alternative is to merge both Israel and Palestine, allow all refugees to return not necessarily to the land they lost., grant them full national rights and live together as one nation.

  • papawelsh says:

    War is terrible, of all of us who can claim their land wasn’t in some way capture with the occupying people being killed, placed in captivity to be made slaves, or forced to leave.

    From what I can discern is both sides have done some great atrocities. I believe that Israel has extended the olive branch at least three times; the first of which gave Israel the top 20% and the Palestinian people getting the remaining 80%. The PLO has refused every time with a retaliation of war rather than a handshake of peace. They fight back not for peace sake but to wipe Israel from the Map. The Palestinians may want peace but the formed government PLO and now Hamas chooses to use them as expendable pawns and cannon fodder to exploit their plight to the world. Those individual families are paying severely for this tactic.

    I really believe in a two state solution; if the Palestinians would accept. That said I don’t believe it will happen. None of Israels neighbors wants her there. One thing you must realize though is that Palestine is a region and never has been a sovereign country. These people may have lived on this land for centuries but have always been part of another occupying people. It wasn’t until 1988 when PLO leaders in exile in Algiers Declared their independence and named for itself the Palestinian territories, of the pre1967 borders of Palestine, which were currently occupied by Jews. They have since been recognized as a legitimate state although they themselves don’t accept the current boundaries. And thus the fight continues.

  • basil jumaiza says:

    Palestinians have the right to their lands that Israelite took from them ,and the only solution to solve this conflict is simple ,all of the Palestinian lands should be back to Palestinians and Jews can live in Palestine and they are welcomed to do so . See , Islam taught us to accept other religions, and there are no other solutions than that .

  • Jake says:

    And who attacked whom in 1948?

  • Wallace Brand says:

    Jewish exclusive political rights to Palestine under International Law was recognized by the Principal WWI Allies at San Remo in 1920, adopting the British Balfour Policy of 1917. It was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922 and also in 1922 by the US Congress Joint Resolution and in 1924 by treaty by the US that had declined to become a member of the League. On the demise of the League of Nations, the political rights were preserved in the UN Charter in Article 80. The Partition approved by the UN General Assembly was only a recommendation that the Jews agree to give up a part of their rights to avoid a war with the Arabs. The Jews agreed but the Arabs declined and went to war anyway.

    In 1920 the recognition of Jewish political or national rights to Palestine was done in such a way as to avoid immediate sovereignty by the Jews because they were then a minority and to do otherwise was considered antidemocratic. They were placed in trust with England as the trustee giving England legal dominion over the political rights. In September 19th, 1917 in a memo of the British Foreign Service, Arnold Toynbee and Lewis Namier had written that by placing the rights in trust, they would not vest until the Jews had attained a majority of population and were just as qualified to exercise sovereignty as any modern European nation-state. By 1950, after the British had abandoned their trust, the Jews acquired a majority population within the green line. The UN vote on partition showed that it thought the Jews were capable of exercising sovereignty.

    One can use other standards to determine who shall rule in Palestine. But International Law can only be made by treaty and long custom. It cannot be made by bodies having “International” in their title such as the UN in its recommendations or the International Court of Justice in advisory opinions. UN recommendations such as the 1947 Partition are only of legal force and effect if adopted by both sides of the issue by a treaty or the like. Under International Law, the Jews have exclusive political rights to all Palestine west of the Jordan River and the Arabs have no basis for claiming sovereignty under International law as the Arabs local to Palestine have never exercised such rights. There has never been an Arab capital in Palestine.

    As to other bases — the Jews lived in Palestine for some 3,700 years and their presence there has been continuous although varying in number after the Romans drove many out. And under canon law, the Jews have sovereignty over Palestine. Even some Arabs have admitted that the Qur’an provides that.

    Under international law prior to the Westphalia new order, sovereignty was attained by declaring independence and holding the ground against all comers with your own blood and treasure. Under that standard also, the Jews are entitled to sovereignty. The rights of non-Jews in private property were preserved in the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres in which the Ottomans ceded Palestine to the Mandatory Power. It insured their civil and their religious rights would be preserved. I did not preserve political rights because there were none to preserve. The local Arabs had never exercise sovereignty in Palestine.

  • Wallace Brand says:

    In my earlier comment, I neglected to mention that the “Jewish National Home” mentioned in the Mandate reflected its status as the Jew’s beneficial interest in the political or national rights to Palestine, because it was not intended to become a nation-state until later.

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