There were Jewish settlements north of Jerusalem called Atarot and Neve Yaakov, which were evacuated in 1948. A settlement called Bet Haarava, and Palestine Potash, Ltd., both located at the northern end of the Dead Sea, were situated on miri land leased by the government of Palestine and were evacuated in 1948. During the 1920s and 1930s, individual Jews and two Jewish-owned realty companies, Zikhron David and El Hahar, bought land in the hills around Hebron. Notwithstanding (and, actually, because of) the Land Transfer Regulations, 1940, which placed nearly all of the West Bank in Zone A, the JNF began purchasing land around Hebron in 1940. It acquired about 8,400 dunums by 1947, some of which was purchased from individual Jews and from Zikhron David and El Hahar. The settlements established on this land were called Kfar Etzion, Masuot Yitzhak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim…Some 16,000 dunums of land were purchased by Jews before 1948 in the Etzion Bloc and Beit Hadassah. Himnuta bought land near Jericho and present-day Ma’ale Adumim. The funding in urban areas usually came from state coffers, while the purchase of agricultural land was paid for by the JNF.
With full permission of my fellow blogger, Elder of Tziyon, I wish to bring to my readers’ attention something quite remarkable that he uncovered, digging through the "Palileak" papers. It’s actually a bombshell document that the mainstream media has ignored. Did you know that the PLO wrote a paper describing, in detail, the legal rights of Jews to lands that they owned prior to 1948?
It is entitled “NSU Draft Memo Re: Rights of Jews Within the OPT Acquired pre-1967” and is summarized so:
Draft memorandum from NSU to Palestinian Negotiating Team that discusses options for dealing with property claims of Jews within the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) acquired before the beginning of the occupation, covering Ottoman and British periods, Jordanian Rule of the West Bank and Egyptian rule of Gaza.
It appears that the intent was to have a position-paper prepared in case the issue would have been brought up in negotiations. It was not presented to Israel. Here is an extract which fundamentally admits that Jews indeed owned land:
Jews who owned land have the right to have their land restored to them or to be compensated, if restitution is not materially possible. Jews are entitled to compensation for other material and non-material losses, including lost profits, lost income, etc. caused by their displacement and dispossession.
The team recognized that Jews did acquired property “before the beginning of the occupation”, as they wrote, and admitted that these properties “ are, in principle, legitimate rights that exist under international law”. They were aware that “Palestinian negotiators will need a strategy for dealing with these pre-1967 Jews [sic] rights.”
The paper reviews historical developments including the British Mandatory Land Regulations Act, an outcome of the 1939 White Paper, and reads:
In 1940, in response to Arab concerns regarding Jewish land ownership in Palestine, the British introduced restrictions on land transfers to Jews. Pursuant to the Palestine (Amendment) Order-in-Council of 25 May 1939, the High Commissioner was authorized to prohibit and regulate land transfers. Acting on these powers, the High Commissioner adopted the Land Transfer Regulations, 1940, which established three zones: Zone A (16,680 km2), where land could generally not be transferred except to Palestinian Arabs; Zone B (8,348 km2), where land transfers from Arabs to Jews required permission that was generally withheld; and land outside Zones A and B (1,292 km2), which could be freely transferred. According to the hand-drawn map annexed to the Regulations, what became Gaza and the West Bank was entirely Zone A, meaning that land transfers to Jews were, with few exceptions, prohibited. Britain apparently repealed these Regulations upon the termination of its Mandate (12 May 1948).
Between 1948 and 1967, as even the Palestinian Authority negotiating team has to admit, Jordan, who illegally occupied the territory that was supposed to become the "Arab State" in 1948, and Egypt confiscated Jewish-owned land, against international humanitarian law:
The Custodian [of Enemy Property] held and administered Jewish-owned in the West Bank until 1967 according to the Trading with the Enemy Ordinance (as opposed to administering the land like absentee property according to the powers and rules of IHL).38 Some of these assets were used by the Custodian for public purposes, such as the establishment of refugee camps, the rehabilitation of refugees, and the setting up of army camps and marketplaces. In other cases, the property was leased to private individuals, who used the land for agricultural, commercial or residential purposes, depending on its characteristics.
This document which neither Al-Jazeera nor The Guardian saw fit to highlight lists specific properties that are indisputably owned by Jews in what is Judea and Samaria - even according to the Palestinian Authority, such as:
[L]and located on Mount Scopus...was purchased from a British national in 1916. Boris Goldberg, a member of Lovers of Zion, paid for the land and took title in his name. He gifted the land to the JNF, which gave a 999-year lease to Hebrew University. Additional land was purchased on Mount Scopus from Raghib al-Nashashibi, Mayor of Jerusalem, and was used for the Hebrew University. Hadassah Hospital was also built on land purchased on Mount Scopus...By 1946, the JNF acquired 72,300 dunums in the Gaza district, which encompassed more (!) than present-day Gaza.
In 1930, a Jewish farmer from Rehovot, Tuvia Miller, bought 262 dunums of land in Dayr al-Balah in the Gaza sub-district. Miller eventually sold his land to the JNF in the early 1940s. The JNF then allowed settlers from the religious Ha-Poel ha-Mizrahi movement to build the kibbutz of Kfar Darom on the land in October 1946. They abandoned the kibbutz in June 1948…a purchase of 4,048 dunums in Huj (Gaza sub-district) in 1935 but does not indicate the identity of the Jewish purchaser. Note, however, that the Palestine Partition Commission reported that, by 1938, only 3,300 dunums in Gaza were owned by Jews. In 1941, 6,373 dunums were purchased by the JNF around Gaza City, though it is unknown whether the purchase was permissible under the Land Transfer Regulations 1940. The government of Palestine estimated a population of 3,540 Jews in the Gaza sub-district at the end of 1946. Information has not been found on the circumstances under which these Jews departed from Gaza in 1948.
… Apparently, 80% of Har Homa’s [Jabal Abu Ghneim’s] land is Jewish land purchased in the forties and before. The JNF lost land in the Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank as well, and this matter has been postponed for the eventual [peace] talks for over a decade.
So, Jews possessed legal rights to lands in the territories but this was to be hushed up.
As EOZ surmises, it could be that these "news" organizations are more interested in manipulating the news rather than reporting it. This is one of the Palestine Papers stories that should not remain buried.