November 28, 2018
November 28, 1945
The Land Transfer Committee Report reveals that Arabs in Palestine willingly continued to sell land to Zionists in the early 1940s despite the British legal prohibition for doing so. Palestinian Arabs provide all the evidence that legal circumvention of the law was regular, covert, continuous, and sophisticated.
As part of the 1939 British White Paper for Palestine, the British throttled Jewish immigration and land purchase, and promised a federal state in Palestine in ten years. In an effort to find out how the Land Transfer Regulations were being circumvented, the investigatory Committee was established without Zionists on the Committee. Information and testimony was provided by Palestinian Arab sources. With exceptional detail, the collective testimonies outlined how Arab buyers and Jewish purchasers skirted the British intention to halt the sale of Arab lands.
The Land Transfer Report found that “…the remedy lies in the hands of the Arabs themselves. Unless they enter into collusion with the Jews to defeat the spirit of the White Paper, Jews will not be able to enter improperly into possession of the land within a restricted area. If the parties whom the law is designed to defend conspire to evade the law, then it is indeed difficult for the authorities to enforce it and to defend them.” The amounts of land actually acquired were not large, but sufficient for Zionists to doubt the sincerity of many Palestinian Arabs who were staunchly vocal about their anti-Zionism. Moreover, the lands that were purchased enabled Jews to create contiguous areas of land, connecting previous isolated settlements.
The map from March 31, 1945, shows Jewish owned land in Palestine in red; more than half of the remaining areas were either state-owned lands or lands for which no title deeds existed.