No Palestinian land was ever stolen!


The Palestinian narrative alluding to the illegal occupation of their stolen land is a false narrative that has been repeated and promoted so often that it has morphed into fact. The ongoing propaganda and lies about occupation and theft of supposedly Palestinian land must be continuously challenged. The claim of occupation originates from 1967 despite the fact that there was no Palestinian land in 1967. There was land occupied by Jordan from 1948 – 1967 which Israel won back in 1967. That land as per the League of Nations Mandate 1922 ratified by UN Charter 1945, Article 80 among others, is within the legally defined borders of Israel. The legally binding principles of Acquired Rights and Estoppel since codified in the Vienna Convention of 1969, Article 70 (1)(b) endorsed and confirmed these borders which include Judea and Samaria, (the West Bank) and paradoxically Gaza. The third Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles 2013 in a case brought by the Palestinian Authority was the last ruling upholding and endorsing Israel’s sovereignty.

The only land in dispute which Israel occupies not within her legally defined borders is the Golan but as Syria is still technically at war with Israel that geography may still legally be occupied by any warring party until the conflict is officially terminated.

Thus in a few simple sentences referencing legal rulings as defined within Internationally established Treaties and Charters as codified in International law we have exposed the revisionist history, false narrative and lies that dominate mainstream media output and political debate on the Israel Palestinian issue.

Another myth that is often circulated and promoted is that Jews and Zionists were in control of 6% of the land before the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians before 1948. This too is a lie, a false narrative and revisionist history at its most perfidious. The truth and the facts are again rather different. To discredit this mythology, we must refer to two examples of British administrative bureaucracy at its finest – the Hope Simpson and Peel Reports of 1930 and 1937 respectively. Hope Simpson reveals that the areas of land were segregated into five distinct categories defined as Mulk, Miri, Waqf, Mewat and Metruke.

Mulk or freehold and Waqf which was land under the control of charitable or religious foundations were both too insignificant in size (less than one per cent in total) to consider within the census. That left Miri, Mewat and Metruke. Mewat and Metruke were designated State Lands and Waste Lands and accounted for 72% of the land area. Unpalatable as this is to Israel’s enemies, all, I repeat all of this land was legally allocated for control within the Jewish State of Israel after the expiration of the 1922 Mandate. Thus, we have 28% left of the total land area designated as Miri land to consider. Miri is the equivalent of leasehold land. Hope Simpson calculated that 16% of this land was under Jewish ownership by 1930 and this can be validated by land registry. Thus, the figure of 6% per cent of Jewish geographical control invariably cited is not supported by any statistical validation as the proven analysis of the Hope Simpson report.

Chapter 2 of this report under the heading Area of Agricultural Land documents as stated above that 16% plus of the Miri category under Jewish ownership. However, to assume the remaining percentage was under the control of non-Jews cannot be proven and the reasons for this must be explained.

No land registry records existed to prove ownership of Miri land other than in the case of Jewish ownership as these owners insisted on documenting legal title. Moreover unless such land could be proven to be cultivated for three consecutive years the land reverted to the State and because of a devastating malaria outbreak and drought from 1915 , the majority of the land was left uncultivated and returned to the State and was either sold at auction or further allotted for Jewish ownership as falling under the category of State Lands . In the Hope Simpson report of 1930, the ’scourge of malaria’ is still very relevant impacting the population and land left barren.

Thus, the contention that only 6% of land of the total geography was controlled by Jews or Jewish organizations prior to the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel is a total fabrication. The facts are that 72% being state lands and wastelands was legally allocated for the Jewish State and approximately one fifth of the remaining 28% (or six percent) totaling 78% was owned or allocated for Jewish ownership.  Even more unpalatable for the Palestinian lobby the 1937 Peel Report in the section referring to land ownership notes the large tracts of land in Gaza purchased by Zionist organizations.

Arab clans it is true cleansed some of the land of the Fellahin squatters from their undocumented tenancies in order to sell to Jewish individuals or organizations leveraging up from the higher land prices created by Zionism.

The current false narrative ignores the hundreds of thousands of Arabs coming into Palestine as a direct result of the economic benefits brought about by Zionism as Churchill referred to numerous times in the House of Commons. Now this is relevant given the generalizations regarding the lies about ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

In 1948 the geography was attacked by five Arab countries and simultaneously nearly one million Jews from those and other Muslim countries were ethnically cleansed from those countries. Unsurprisingly the revisionist history makes no reference to these events but concentrates on the myth that there was ethnic cleansing by Zionist paramilitary groups in the form of large-scale attacks and massacres.

Given the attacks from five Arab countries and the ethnic cleansing of Jewish populations from those countries the context of the current narrative is not only lacking in explanation but is rather economic with the truth. Moreover, given the huge Arab immigration into the geography we must consider which population was supposedly ethnically cleansed.

Were the 36,000 Syrians from Houran province who had come into Palestine in the mid 1930 ‘s for work among those ethnically cleansed?  Perhaps the ethnic cleansing refers to the thousands of Ben Sukhr Arabs from west of the Jordan or the Algerians who both similarly found their way to Palestine at the turn of the 20th century taking advantage of better economic conditions.

The 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica cites ‘There are very large contingents from the Mediterranean countries, especially Armenia, Greece and Italy. Turkomen settlers, a fairly large Afghan colony, Motawila, immigrants from Persia, tribes of Kurds, a Bosnian colony, Circassian settlements, a large Algerian element, Sudanese ……’

The Hope Simpson Report of 1930 refers to the population census of 1922 and there is no category of population identified as either Palestinian nor Arab Palestinian. This is yet further proof that the Palestinian identification as a people had not yet been established.

The Palestine Royal Commission Report 1937, states  – ‘This illegal Arab immigration was not only going on from the Sinai , but also from Transjordan and Syria , and it is very difficult to make a case out for the misery of the Arabs if at the same time their compatriots from adjoining states could not be kept from going in to share that misery.’

Winston Churchill said in 1939 – ‘So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied until their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population’.

Thus, once more through documented research we have established that Arab immigration into Palestine was a multiple of Jewish immigration and that Arab countries attacked that geography in the hope of exterminating the Jews who lived there.

Moreover, historical evidence reveals the greater part the Arab leadership played in demanding that Mohammedans or Arabs (they were never called Palestinians until 1964) leave their villages during the Arab attacks on the Jews.

Edward Atiyah, Secretary to the Arab League, in his book The Arabs 1955 –

“The wholesale exodus was due to the belief of the Arabs encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic press and the irresponsible utterances of the Arab leaders that it would only be a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Arabs enabled to re-enter and take possession of the country”.

The Cairo daily Akhbar el Yom, October 12, 1963

‘The 15th May 1948 arrived …on that day the Mufti of Jerusalem ordered the Arabs in Palestine to leave the country because the Arab armies were to enter and fight’.

So you see the current narrative conveniently ignores the combined Arab attacks on Israel and the reasons for the Arabs leaving Israel which was determined not by Zionist massacres but from orders emanating from the Arab leadership, who incidentally had previously given military and political support to the Nazis. But that is another related matter.

Lies about the status of Jerusalem continue to promote mythology. The revisionism suggests that Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem which is a commonly held view but nevertheless a lie. East Jerusalem as proven above is within Israel’s legally defined territory and all Israel did in 1967 was to kick out the illegal occupiers, Jordan, who did the annexing.

Then of course we have the myth of the illegality of Israeli settlements under International Law which I have debunked as the settlements fall within the sovereign territory of the State of Israel as per the League of Nations Mandate 1922 supported by the UN Charter of 1945 and the established principles of international law alluded to above but nevertheless worth repeating here.

Acquired Rights establishes that once a nation state is given rights under a mandate those rights can never be taken away. Estoppel simply establishes the reverse that once a nation has voted to give another nation right under a treaty or mandate that vote cannot be reversed. Unfortunately, the vast majority believe the false narrative spewed like vomit because of the saturation coverage promoting the lies for the last five decades.

Perhaps the most damning evidence that no Palestinian land was ever stolen is the testimony documented by the Arab leadership to the Peel Commission in 1937.

Sir Laurie Hammond, a member of the Peel Commission, interviewed the Grand Mufti about his insistence to the Commission that Zionists were stealing Arab land and driving peasants into homelessness. He spoke through an interpreter.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Would you give me the figures again for the land. I want to know how much land was held by the Jews before the Occupation.

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: At the time of the Occupation the Jews held about 100,000 dunams.

Sir Laurie Hammond: What year?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: At the date of the British Occupation.

Sir Laurie Hammond: And now they hold how much?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: About 1,500,000 dunams: 1,200,000 dunams already registered in the name of the Jewish holders, but there are 300,000 dunams which are the subject of written agreements, and which have not yet been registered in the Land Registry. That does not, of course, include the land which was assigned, about 100,000 dunams.

Sir Laurie Hammond: What 100,000 dunams was assigned? Is that not included in, the 1,200,000 dunams? The point is this. He says that in 1920 the Jews only held 100,000 dunams, is that so? I asked the figures from the Land Registry, how much land the Jews owned at the time . Would he be surprised to hear that the figure is not 100,000 but 650,000 dunams?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: It may be that the difference was due to the fact that many lands were bought by contract which were not registered.

Sir Laurie Hammond: There is a lot of difference between 100,000 and 650,000.

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: In one case they sold about 400,000 dunams in one lot.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Who? An Arab?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: Sarsuk. An Arab of Beyrouth.

Sir Laurie Hammond: His Eminence gave us a picture of the Arabs being evicted from their land and villages being wiped out. What I want to know is, did the Government of Palestine, the Administration, acquire the land and then hand it over to the Jews?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: In most cases the lands were acquired.

Sir Laurie Hammond: I mean forcibly acquired-compulsory acquisition as land would be acquired for public purposes?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: No, it wasn’t.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Not taken by compulsory acquisition?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: No.

Sir Laurie Hammond: But these lands amounting to some 700,000 dunams were actually sold?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: Yes, they were sold, but the country was placed in such conditions as would facilitate such purchases.

Sir Laurie Hammond: I don’t quite understand what you mean by that. They were sold. Who sold them?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: Land owners.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Arabs?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: In most cases they were Arabs.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Was any compulsion put on them to sell? If so, by whom?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: As in other countries, there are people who by force of circumstances, economic forces, sell their land.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Is that all he said?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: A large part of these lands belong to absentee landlords who sold the land over the heads of their tenants, who were forcibly evicted. The majority of these landlords were absentees who sold their land over the heads of their tenants. Not Palestinians but Lebanese.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Is His Eminence in a position to give the Commission a list of the people, the Arabs who have sold lands, apart from those absentee landlords?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: It is possible for me to supply such a list.

Sir Laurie Hammond: I ask him now this: does he think that as compared with the standard of life under the Turkish rule the position of the fellahin in the villages has improved or deteriorated?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: Generally speaking, I think their situation has got worse.

Sir Laurie Hammond: Is taxation heavier or lighter?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: Taxation was much heavier then, but now there are additional burdens.

Sir Laurie Hammond: I am asking him if it is now, the present day, as we are sitting together here, is it a fact that the fellahin has a much lighter tax than he had under the Turkish rule? Or is he taxed more heavily?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: The present taxation is lighter, but the Arabs nevertheless have now other taxation, for instance, customs.

Lord Peel: And the condition of the fellahin as regards, for example, education. Are there more schools or fewer schools now?

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini: They may have more schools, comparatively, but at the same time there has been an increase in their numbers.

In Chapter 5 of the Peel Report – The Present Situation

“The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920….and Arab landowners have benefited from the sale of land…..The  Fellaheen are far better off than they were in 1920…”

Other extracts from the Peel Commission report cite in Chapter 9 , The Land

“Up till now the Arab cultivator has benefited from the presence of Jews in the country…”

“The shortage of land is due less to purchase by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population”. This is clearly a reference to the huge numbers of Arabs entering Palestine as noted above because of the economic benefits of Zionism

“Much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamps and uncultivated when it was bought”.

Thus, in this article I have exposed the Palestinian claims of occupied and stolen land are a myth. However, my truth is weighed down by years of lies promoted by those enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel. I raise the voice of truth by putting our heads above the parapet. Others must do the same and expose the Palestinian narrative for what it is – a pack of lies.

Disclaimer: Opinion expressed in this article are solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of this newspaper.

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Peter Baum
Peter Baum, Editor (International Political Affairs) to Blitz is a research-scholar, who writes extensively on Israel, Holocaust, Zionism, Middle East, Anti-Semitism, and other issues. Peter Baum has worked for four decades in the International Financial Markets specializing in the Capital Market. He held directorships at large International Financial Institutions and ended career as consultant to an Investment Management company. Baum is a member of the Institute of Directors. He has worked extensively abroad in the Asia, Africa, the USA and Europe and after retirement spends his time as a political researcher, activists and columnist. In addition to his engagement with Blitz, Peter Baum has also been writing for the Gatestone Institute, Conservative Woman and Decisive Liberty and has appeared numerous times on TV and radio mainly talking about Israel and the Middle East.


  1. Brilliant article Peter. Hopefully all of these contentious issues that you have so forcefully and factually addressed will become ancient history with the successful implementation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution. After 100 years of conflict this Saudi-based solution provides some light at the end of the tunnel. Secret negotiations between Netanyahu and Abbas senior officials for the last two months indicate this solution could well be on their agenda. Still not one word from Jordan’s King Abdullah, PLO Leader Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas head honcho Ismail Haniyeh and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman rejecting the Saudi solution in the 10 months since its publication also offer hope that they are all prepared to agree to this solution if Israel’s conditions of acceptance are to their liking.

  2. At first the Zionists purchased land that no one lived on. When they did purchase land that others lived on, in some cases they paid the tenants also.


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