Arabs possess most of the private land in Israel, despite their composing only 20% of the population, a researcher revealed Thursday. The researcher referred to Israel including the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem, but not including Judea and Samaria, where Israeli sovereignty has not been formally applied yet.
Israel's territory is about 22 million dunams (four dunams make up about one acre). Of these, about 1.5 million dunams are privately owned. More than half of these 1.5 million dunams are owned by Arabs, according to Prof. Haim Zandberg, an expert on Israeli lands in the College for Administration. The rest of the land is owned by the State, the Jewish National Fund and the Development Authority, and managed by the Israel Lands Authority.
Zandberg spoke at a study day on the Arab minority in Israel sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute.
The statistic is explained by historical-legal technicalities from the days of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and British mandate who ruled in turn over the Land of Israel. They contradict the claim that Arabs suffer discrimination in the allocation of land.
Land set aside for construction in Israel makes up about 840,000 dunams, which is divided more or less proportionately between Jews and Arabs: 82% of the land has been allocated to Jewish construction and 18% to Arab construction.
Prof. Zandberg noted that the Bedouins in the Negev Desert possess a very large part of the Negev despite their relatively small numbers. Their population density is about 200 people per square kilometer, as compared to about 19,000 people per square kilometer in a dense Jewish urban center like Bnei Brak.
An Arab speaker, Dr. Yosef Jabbarin of Haifa University, claimed that Arabs are discriminated against by the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency.