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February 28, 1940 British Restrict Land Transfer

February 28, 1940 British Restrict Land Transfer

Statement Explanatory of the Palestine Land Transfers Regulations”

“Paragraph 16 of the Statement of Policy of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom regarding Palestine, dated the 17th (of) May, 1939, drew attention to the fact that the reports of several expert Commissions had indicated that owing to the natural growth of the Arab population and the steady sale in recent years of Arab land to Jews, there was now in certain areas no room for further transfer of Arab land, whilst in some other areas such transfers of land must be restricted if Arab cultivators were to maintain their existing standard of life and a considerable landless Arab population was not soon to be created.  It was therefore announced that the High Commissioner would be given powers to prohibit and regulate transfers of land.  Regulations have now been made in order to give effect to this announcement

Two zones. ZONE A AND ZONE B, HAVE BEEN DEMARCATED IN PALESTINE WITHIN WHICH TRANSFERS OF LAND WILL BE CONTROLLED.  IN DETERMING THE BOUNDARIES OF THESE ZONES IN THE GOVERNMENT HAS HAD SPECIAL REGARD TO PROVISIONS OF ARTICLES 6 OF THE MANDATE.  ZONE A INCLUDES THE HILL COUNTRY AS A WHOLE TOGETHER WITH CERTAIN AREAS IN GAZA AND BEER SHEBA SUB DISTRICTS WHERE THE LAND AVALIABLE IS ALREADY INSUFFICIENT FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE EXISTING POPULATION: IN THIS ZONE THE TRANSFER OF LAND TO A PERSON OTHER THAN A PALESTINE ARAB WILL BE PROHIBITED SAVE IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES FOR WHICH SPECIAL PROVISION IS MADE IN THE REGULATION.

 

In Zone B transfers may be permitted in accordance with certain conditions set forth in paragraph 5 of this explanatory statement.  This Zone includes the plains of Esdraelon and Jezreel, Eastern Galilee, the maritime plain between Haifa and Tantura and between the southern boundary of the Ramleh sub-district and Beer-Tuviya, and the southern portion of the Beersheda sub-district (the Negeb).

THERE WILL BE NO RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSFERS IN THOSE PARTS OF PALESTINE NOT INCLUDED IN ZONE A OR ZONE B.  THESE PARTS INCLUDE ALL MUNICIPAL AREAS, THE HAIFA INDUSTRIAL ZONE (DESCRIBED IN APPENDIX 8 OF THE REPORT OF THE PALESTINE PARTITION COMMISSION).  (e.g. Jewish land purchases were restricted to 400 square miles or 1% of the 1920 San Rona Palestine Mandate).

Transfers of land in Zone B by a Palestinian Arab to any person other than a Palestinian Arab will be null and void unless the sanction of the High Commissioner to the transfer has previously been sought and obtained.”

Source: Palestine Land Transfer Regulations, Cmd.6019 February 28,1940 ** (have in PDF)

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