The land issue originated and resides as one of the core issues in the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. There are two parts to the land issue. First, how those lands that were formerly under the control of the Ottoman Empire were allocated at the end of World War I. That is, who divided it up, who was promised what, who or did not receive what, and who governed it. What seems apparent from the 1939 British document is that Palestine was to be excluded from the independent area set aside for Arab independence after WWI; and,  that Zionists acquired land to form a bare nucleus for a state by 1939. Arabs willingly sold land to Zionists from the 1890s through 1948. The evidence provided from Arabic newspapers, British, and Zionist sources show a regular stream of Arab, not merely Arabs who lived outside of Palestine, but Arabs resident in Palestine who sold to Jewish buyers.


Aaronsohn, Ran. Rothschild and Early Jewish Colonization, Boston, Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

Bar-Gal, Yoram. Propoganda And Zionist Education The Jewish National Fund 1924-1947. Rochester: University of Rochester, 2003.

Ben-Artzi, Yossi. Early Jewish Settlement Patterns in Palestine, 1882-1914. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997.

Engel Tuten, Eric. Between Capital and Land, The Jewish National Fund’s finances and land-purchase priorities in Palestine, 1939-1947. New York: Routledge  Curzon, 2005.

Bein, Alex. The Return to the Soil. Jerusalem, 1952.

Cohen, Hillel. Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948, University of California Press, 2009.

Fisher, Stanley. Ottoman Land Laws. Oxford, 1919.

Goadby, Frederic M., and Doukhan, Moses I. The Land Law of Palestine. Tel Aviv, 1935.

Granott (Granovsky), Abraham. Agrarian Reform and the Record of Israel. London, 1956.

Granovksy, Abraham.  Land and the Jewish Reconstruction in Palestine. Jerusalem, 1931.

Granovksy, Abraham. The Land Issue in Palestine. Jerusalem, 1936.

Granovksy, Abraham. Land Policy in Palestine. New York, 1940.

Granovksy, Abraham. Land Problems in Palestine, Routledge, 1926.

Granott, Abraham. Land policy in Palestine: Rise of Jewish nationalism and the Middle East, Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, 1940.

Granovksy, Abraham.  The Land System in Palestine: History and Structures. London, 1952.

Granovksy, Abraham. Towards an Economic Jewish Agriculture in Palestine. Tel Aviv, 1927.

Grant, Elihu. The Peasantry of Palestine. Boston, 1907.

Grant, Elihu. The People of Palestine. London, 1921.

Hankin, Joshua (Yehoshua). Ideas on Jewish Colonization in Palestine. Jerusalem, 1940.

Katz, Yossi.  The Battle for the land: the History of the Jewish National Fund (KKL) before the establishment of the state of Israel. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2005.

Katz, Yossi. Between Jerusalem and Hebron: Jewish Settlement in the Pre-State Period. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press.

Katz, Yossi. Private Entrepreneurship in the Jewish Settlement of Palestine, 1900-1914. Jerusalem, Magnes Press, 1994.

Orni, Efraim. Forms of Settlement: Jewish villages in Israel and Their History. Jerusalem: Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (Jewish National Fund), 1976.

Reiter, Yitzhak. Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem Under British Mandate, London, Cass, 1996.

Rochlin, Sidney. Handbook of the issues of the Jewish National Fund, New York: Routledge Curzon, 2005.

Ruppin, Arthur. Agricultural Colonization in Palestine. Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, 1976.

Sharett, Moshe,  The Challenge of the Land.  Jerusalem: Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (Jewish National Fund), 1960.

Schama, Simon. Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel. New York, 1978.

Shilony, Zvi. Ideology and Settlement The Jewish National Fund, 1897-1914. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1998.

Stein, Kenneth W. The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939, University of North Carolina Press, 1984, reprinted 2003.

Tute, R.C. The Ottoman Land Laws with a Commentary. Jerusalem, 1927.

Tuten, Eric.  Between Capital and Land: the Jewish National Fund’s finances and land-purchase priorities in Palestine, 1939-45, 2005.

Tyler, Warwick P.N. State Lands and Rural Development in Mandatory Palestine, 1920-1948, Portland,  Sussex, 2001.

Warriner, Doreen. Land and Poverty in the Middle East. New York, 1948.

Wilson, Reverend C.T. Peasant Life in the Holy Land. London, 1906.

Note: Without equal, the most comprehensive portrayals and explanations of the land regime in the area of Palestine and Greater Syria during Ottoman times may be found in a dozen or so scholarly works in French and German. Of particular excellence are the scientific and non-polemical works noted below by Auhagen, Bonne, Cuinet, Endres, Fischer, Latron, Ruppin, Schulman and Weulersse. They all reveal the social hierarchies, economic setbacks, retrogressive methods in agricultural production, and protracted peasant impoverishment that characterized rural life before World War I in the sanjaks of Nablus, Acre, in the independent administrative area in Jerusalem and the area of Greater Syria.

Ashkenazi, Tovia. Tribus Semi-Nomades de la Palestine du Nord. Paris, 1938.

Auhagen, Hubert. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Landesnatur und der Lanwirtschaft Syriens. Berlin, 1907.

Böhm, Adolf. Die Zionistische Bewegung 1918 bis 1925. Jerusalem, 1937.

Bonne, Alfred. Palästina Land und Wirtschaft. Berlin, 1935.

Cuinet, Vital. Syrie, Liban et Palestine. Paris, 1896.

Endres, Franz Carl. Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung Palästinas als Teiles der Turkei. Berlin, 1918.

Ettinger, Jacob. Konkreter Vorschlag für landwirtschaftliche Kolonisation. Jerusalem, 1921.

Ettinger, Jacob. Methoden und Kapitalbedarf jüdischer Kolonisation in Palästina. The Hague, 1916.

Fischer, Hans. Wirtschaftsgeographie von Syrien. Leipzig, 1919.

Granovsky, A. Abraham. Bodenbestuerung in Palästina. Berlin, 1928.

Granovsky,  Boden und Siedlung in Palästina. Berlin, 1929.

Granovsky, A. Probleme der Bodenpolitik in Palästina. Berlin, 1935.

Jaussen, P. Antonin. Coutumes des Arabes au Pays de Moab. Paris, 1948.

Kremer, Alfred V. Mittelsyrien und Damascus. Vienna, 1853.

Latron, André. La Vie Rurale en Syrie et au Liban. Beirut, 1936.

Mawratzki, Curt. Die jüdische Kolonisation Palästinas. Munich, 1914.

Nord, Erich. Die Reform des türkischen Liegenschaftrechts. Leipzig, 1914.

Oppenheim, Max. Die Beduinen. Vol. 2. Leipzig, 1943.

Ruppin, Arthur. Der Aufbau des Landes Israel. Berlin, 1919.

Ruppin, Arthur.  Syrien als Wirtschaftsgebiet. Berlin, 1917.

Shulman, Leon. Zur türkischen Agrarfrage Palästina und die Fellachenwirtschaft. Weimar, 1916.

Volney, M.C.F. Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte. Vol. 2. Paris, 1946.

Weulersse, Jacques. Paysans de Syrie et du Proche-Orient. Paris, 1946.


Adams, Frank. “Palestine Agriculture.” In Harry Vitteles and Khalil Totah (eds.) The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, 164, Philadelphia, November 1932, pp. 72-83.

Amiran, D.H.K. “The Pattern of Settlement in Palestine.” Israel Exploration Journal 3, 1953, pp. 65-78, 192-209, 250-260.

Atran, Scott. “Le Masha’a et la question fonciere en Palestine, 1858-1948.” Annales, 42:6, November-December 1987, pp. 1361-1389.

Aumann, Moshe. “Land Ownership in Palestine, 1880-1948.” Israel Academic Committee on the Middle East.

al-Barguthy, Omar Saleh. “Traces of the Feudal System in Palestine.” Palestine Oriental Society Journal 9, 1929, pp. 70-79.

Bartal, I. “‘Settlement’ Proposals During Montefiore’s Second Visit to Eretz-Israel, 1839,” SHALEM (Studies in the History of the Jews in Eretz-Israel), Vol. 2, 1976, pp. 231-296.

Bentwich, Norman. “The Legal System in Palestine.” Middle East Journal 2, January 1948, pp. 33-46.

Bergheim, Samuel. “Land Tenure.” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statment 26, 1894, pp. 191-99.

Bergheim, Samuel. “The Fellaheen of Palestine.” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 11, April 1879, pp. 72-87.

Elazari-Volcani, J. “Jewish Colonization in Palestine.” In Harry Vitteles and Khalil Totah (eds.) The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 164, Philadelphia, November 1932, pp. 84-94.

Finn, E.A. “The Fellaheen of Palestine.” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 11, January 1879, pp. 33-48.

Firestone, Ya’acov. “Crop-sharing Economics in Mandatory Palestine.” Middle Eastern Studies 11, pt. 1, January 1975, pp. 3-23.

Firestone, Ya’acov “ Production and Trade in an Islamic Context: Sharika Contracts in the Transitional Economy of Northern Samaria, 1853-1943.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 6, April 1975, pp. 185-209.

Forman, Geremy. “Settlement of Title in the Galilee; Dowson’s Colonial Guiding Principles,” Israel Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 61-83.

Gerson, Allan. “Trustee-Occupant.” The Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter 1973, pp. 1-49.

Gorni, Yosef. “Zionist Socialism and the Arab Question, 1918-1930,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 1977, pp. 50-70.

Grossman, David and Yossi Katz. “Rural Settlement Patterns in Eretz-Israel,” Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 74, No. 1, 1992, pp. 57-73.

Hourani, Albert. “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables.” in Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East, edited by William Polk and Richard Chambers, pp. 41-68. Chicago, 1968.

al-Hout, Bayan Nuuweihid, “The Palestine Political Elite during the Mandate Period.” Journal of Palestine Studies 9, 1979, pp. 85-111.

Katz ,Yossi. “The Establishment of Tel Aviv with the Assistance of the Jewish National Fund,” Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 49, No. 3/4, Summer – Autumn, 1987, pp. 293-302.

Katz, Yossi “The Palestinian Mountain Region and Zionist Settlement Policy, 1882-1948,” Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 30 No 2, April 1994, pp. 304-329.

Hurewitz, J.C. “Arab Politics in Palestine.” Contemporary Jewish Record 5, December 1942, pp. 597-619.

Troen Ilan and Shay Rabineau, “Competing Concepts in Eretz Yisrael,” Israel Studies, 19:2 (Summer 2014): 162-186.

Jarvis, Major C.S. “Southern Palestine and Its Possibilities for Settlement.” Royal Central Asian Society Journal 25, 1938, pp. 204-18.

Kallner, D.H., and Rosenau, E. “Geographical Regions of Palestine.” Geographical Review 29, January 1939, pp. 61-80.

Karmon, Y. “The Settlement of the Northern Huleh Valley since 1838.” Israel Exploration Journal 3, 1953, pp. 4-25.

Kark, Ruth. “Changing Patterns of Land Ownership in 19th Century Palestine:  The European Influence.” Journal of Historical Geography, 10:4, Oct. 1984.

Kark, Ruth. “Millenarism and Agricultural Settlement in the Holy Land in the 19th Century.” Journal of Historical Geography, 9:1, 1983, pp. 47-62.

Kark, Ruth, and Zvi Shiloni. “Renewal of Settlement at Gezer.” 1983, pp. 3-14.

Karpat, Kemal H. “Land Regime, Social Structure, and Modernization.” In Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East, edited by William Polk and Richard Chambers, pp. 69-90. Chicago, 1968.

Khalidi, Walid. “A Palestinian Perspective on the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1, Autumn 1991, pp. 5-16.

Klat, P.J. “Musha’ Holdings and Land Fragmentation in Syria.” Middle East Economic Papers 4, 1958, pp. 12-23.

Landau, Leah D. “Vacant Lands and the Rights of the Cultivator.” Israel Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 665-668.

Layish, Aharon. “The Muslim Waqf in Israel.” Asian and African Studies 2, 1966, pp. 41-76.

Mandel, Neville. “Ottoman Policy and Restrictions on Jewish Settlement in Palestine: 1881-1908– Part 1.” Middle Eastern Studies 10, October 1974, pp. 312-32.

Mandel, Neville. “Ottoman Practice as Regards Jewish Settlement in Palestine, 1881-1908, Middle Eastern Studies 11, pt. 2, January 1975, pp. 33-46.

Mandel, Neville. “Turks, Arabs and Jewish Immigration into Palestine, 1882-1908.” in Middle Eastern Affairs, by Albert Hourani, 4:77-108. St. Antony’s Papers, no. 17. Oxford, 1965.

Metzer, Jacob. “The Concept of National Capital in Zionist Thought, 1918-1921,” Asian and African Studies, Vol.11, No.3, 1977, pp. 101-130.

Miller, Ylana. “Administrative Policy in Rural Palestine: The Impact of British Norms on Arab Community Life, 1920-1948.” in Palestine Society and Politics, edited by Joel S. Migdal, pp. 124-45. Princeton, 1980.

Nadan, Amos. “Colonial Misunderstanding of an Efficient Peasant Institution: Land Settlement and Mushā Tenure in Mandate Palestine, 1921-47,” in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 46, No. 3, 2003, pp. 320-354.

Reilly, James. “Peasantry of Late Ottoman Palestine.” Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1981, pp. 82-97.

Shapiro, Anita. “The Option on Ghaur al-Kibd: Contacts between Emir Abdullah and the Zionist Executive, 1932-1935.” Zionism 1, 1980, pp. 239-83.

Smilansky, Moshe. “Jewish Colonization and the Fellah.” Palestine and Near East Economic Magazine 5, 1930.

Stein, Kenneth, “The Jewish National Fund: Land Purchase Methods and Priorities, 1924-1939.” Middle Eastern Studies 20, no. 4 (April 1984): 190-205.

Stein, Kenneth “The Land Controversy: the 94% Myth Who Controlled what land when the Mandate ended? Who controlled what land when the 1947 war ended?

Stein, Kenneth, “Legal Protection and Circumvention of Rights for Cultivators in Mandatory Palestine,” in Joel S. Migdal (ed.) Palestinian Society and Politics,  Princeton University Press, 1980,  233-260.

Stein, Kenneth, “One Hundred Years of Social Change: The Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem.” In New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State, by Laurence Silberstein, 57-81. New York University Press, 1991.

Stemple, John. “Viewpoint: A Brief Review of Afforestation Efforts in Israel,” Rangelands, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 199), pp. 15-18.

Stracey, W.J. “Palestine…as It Is and as It Might Be.” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 12, October 1880, pp. 241-42.

Strickland, Claude F. “The Struggle for Land in Palestine.” Current History [published by the New York Times] 34, April 1931, pp. 45-49.

Tannous, Afif I. “The Arab Village Community.” Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institute,1943, pp. 523-43.

Tannous, Afif I. “Land Tenure in the Middle East.” Foreign Agriculture 7, August 1943, pp. 170-77.

Tannous, Afif I. “The Village Teacher and Rural Reconstruction.” Open Court 49, October 1935, pp. 236-40.

Turkowski, Lucian. “Peasant Agriculture in the Judean Hills.” Palestine Exploration

Tuten, Eric. “Courting Private Capital:  The Jewish National Fund’s Joint Land Purchase Scheme in Mandatory Palestine, 1938-1947.”  Middle Eastern Studies, July 2002, pp. 123-144.