How was the land lost?
You may now wonder, since the Palestinians are the legitimate owners of the land, as proved in the previous section, how was the land taken from them? And why did they give up the land of their grandfathers? Why did they not hold on to their land, and the whole problem would not have then existed? Indeed, the Zionist version of the story tries to capitalize on these "unanswered" questions. To legitimize its continuous occupation of the land and the deprivation of the Palestinians from their rights, Zionism claims that the Palestinians left their land willingly, so, they do not deserve it anymore. However, before we pass any judgment and blame the victims, let us consider the following facts.
The World Zionist Organization (WZO est. 1897) utilized all its material, political and human resources to achieve its long cherished goal, namely, "to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law". The leader of the organization, Theodore Hertzl, tried to offer financial aid to the ailing Ottoman State in return for facilitating Jewish immigration, but Sultan Abdul Hamid II refused. For many different reasons, the Zionists had, however, managed to increase their political influence in Britain, the U.S., Post-Ottoman Modern Turkey and in many other countries as well. At the same time, the deteriorating world conditions, especially in Eastern Europe, triggered a huge number of oppressed Jews to migrate in search for a better life. The World Zionist Organization took advantage of this development and allocated huge funds to buy land in Palestine and encourage the Jews to migrate there in huge numbers.
In the beginning of the 19 th century, the number of the Jews in Palestine did not exceed 5000; mostly professionals and merchants who owned virtually no land there. But by 1918, the Zionists managed to acquire 42,000 hectares of state lands (1.56% of the area of Palestine) that they got through bribing the administrative personnel of the fading Ottoman State.
In 1918, and after the crushing defeat of the Ottomans in World War I, Palestine was subjected to British colonization. Consequently, Britain put into action its undertaking to the Jews to help them to have a home in Palestine in recognition of their support to the Allies war effort and the role that they played to convince the U.S. government to join the Allies against Germany, The Jews got the promise, known as the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and the U.S. joined the war.
Under British colonization, special laws were issued to facilitate Jewish immigration and acquisition of land in Palestine; and Britain allowed free influx of people, materials and weapons to the Jews. It also granted them autonomy over their colonies and allowed them to form a special colony police force. Meanwhile huge taxes were imposed on the local Arabs, whose movement was restricted and they were not allowed to have weapons or to acquire lands. Notwithstanding these facilities to the Jews, and corresponding pressure on the Palestinians, the former managed by 1948 to own just 180,000 hectares, around 6.67% of the land at that time, that they got mainly from the rich feudal class, mostly Lebanese and Syrian families. Until today, Palestinian farmers have a very high regard and affection to their lands, making any sale of it tantamount to death.
The British had, however, relatively restricted Jewish immigration and acquisition of land after the great Palestinian revolt, but this lasted for a few years only.The United Nations, in an attempt to guard against any military dispute that may rise over Palestine after the expiry of the British mandate there in 1948, proposed a partition plan that suggested the establishment of two states in Palestine: One Jewish over 54% of the land of Palestine, including most of the coastal area and the fertile lands, and another Arab on 45% of the land, leaving the area of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) (1%) under international control. Bearing in mind that the Arabs had then constituted 68.3% of the population of Palestine and owned 93.5% of its land, while the Jews, who were mostly foreign immigrants, formed the rest of the population, the partition plan was indeed extremely unfair to the Arabs, who had logically outrightly rejected it.
In November 1947 the U.N. issued its partition plan, which triggered confrontations throughout the country, and on 15 May 1948, the British mandate ended. The Zionists declared the independent "State of Israel", and war intensified between the Zionist gangs, who formed colonial police forces, and the local Arab population. This war, which witnessed some of the worst massacres after the world wars era, resulted in the Zionist acquisition of 77% of Palestinian land, over which they established their state. The remaining Palestinian land came under the control of neighboring Arab countries. The West Bank was annexed to Jordan and the Gaza Strip was put under Egyptian administration.
During this war, the newly established "Israeli" army, composed of Zionist gangs, became the official army of the new state, and it applied an ethnic cleansing plan called "Plan Dalet". By this plan, the ''Israeli" army used its military might against civilians who lived inside the areas of the newly- independent state because they disturbed the geographic and demographic continuity of the land. The "Israeli" army committed around 34 massacres and destroyed over 400 Palestinian villages, killing 13,000 civilians and forcing around 726,000 out of their homes. Those who were not killed were forced under threats of rifles and artillery to leave. When the "Israeli" state was declared, its Jewish population was around 700,000 and its Arab population, or those who managed to remain at home, were 156,000. The establishment of this Jewish state was thus impossible had it not been for this large scale ethnic cleansing. "Israel" had definitely needed this war, and the subsequent expulsion of the Arabs, in order to establish itself. It was therefore not the interest of the local population to leave, and the whole Zionist version of the 1948 war falls apart with its fraudulent logic. The U.N. partition plan, adopted in resolution 181, stipulated that the proposed Jewish State should have 498,000 Jews and 497,000 Palestinian Arabs. This clearly meant that it could not be a Jewish state, especially if we consider the high rate of population growth among the Palestinians, around 10% at that time. On the contrary, it was definitely going to be an Arab state with Jewish minority in no time. In 1967 another war erupted between "Israel" and three of its Arab neighbors, which resulted in a catastrophic Arab defeat. "Israel" occupied the remaining 23% of the land of Palestine, and captured Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria.
However, throughout this continuous "Israeli" aggression and violation of human rights, the Palestinian resistance never stopped and the Palestinian people never gave up their rights.
How much can the Peace Process give back to Palestinians? Since the 77% of Palestine that was occupied by the Zionists in 1948 became the territory of the internationally recognized "State of Israel" the current peace process, which is based on United Nations resolutions, is only concerned with the remaining 23%, that is the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The above 77% of Palestine is thus non-negotiable and its 3.4 million people, who have been living in inhumane conditions outside Palestine since 1948, (let alone those 1.6 millions living inside Palestine) are totally omitted from the peace agenda as well!
In addition, until March 2001, and after 8 years of bargaining, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) had full control only over 17% of the West Bank (1000km 2 ) and 55% of the Gaza Strip (200 km 2 ), while about 25% of the West Bank is placed under partial civil control. All in all, the PNA had real control over 1200 km 2 , or 4.4% of the total area of Historical Palestine. In their most "generous" mood, the "Israelis" offered the PNA 90% of the West Bank, but excluded Al-Quds (Jerusalem) which they insisted to be the permanent capital of "Israel".