Are Jewish Settlements Built on Arab Land?

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The claims made in these Peace Now reports were further undermined by a successful libel suit brought against the organization by the Jewish community of Revava, which Peace Now had claimed was 71.15 percent owned by Arabs. The community was able to prove in court that Jews owned 100 percent of its land and Arabs owned none of it. Peace Now was forced to pay a settlement of 20,000 shekels (about $5,000) in compensation and issue an apology.

However, even though both reports have been proven to contain serious inaccuracies, and even though Peace Now has even admitted that its 2006 report contained at least one major inaccuracy, Peace Now continues to display both reports on its websites. It has not even removed the false allegations about Maale Haadumim and Revava from the two reports, which it continues to publish on both its Israeli and U.S. web sites.

The world’s media and governments have accepted the false accusations against Israel of Peace Now, B’tselem and similar Israel-based groups because they are supported by plausible, scholarly-sounding language, by detailed (although completely undocumented) statistics, graphs and charts; because the authors are Israelis and Jewish, and most people can’t imagine that anyone could be so self-destructive and disloyal as to lie  about their own country; and of course because the claims of the “human rights” NGOs confirm the anti-Israel prejudices and predilections of most of the world’s governments and news media. The claims of the Israeli “human rights” groups, like those of similar Palestinian and Israeli Arab groups, are nevertheless falsehoods. It is high time that honest and responsible journalists and scholars, Israeli and non-Israeli, Jewish and non-Jewish, expose them for the frauds and lies that they are.


Israeli policies for establishing settlements on undeveloped state land:

See: David Bar-Illan, Eye On the Media, Gefen Books, 1993, available from Amazon; David M. Phillips, “The Illegal-Settlements Myth,” Commentary Magazine,  Dec 01, 2009; CAMERA, “Backgrounder: Jewish Settlements and the Media,” by Ricki Hollander, October 5, 2001,;  CAMERA report of July 7, 1995, “Media Mangles Land Issues”; CAMERA report, April 5, 2011; Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Israeli Settlements and International Law,” 20 May 2001.

Real property laws in force in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”):

See: “Mawat Land,” Zionism and Israel—Encyclopedic Dictionary, and “The Land Question in Palestine”; Nadia Forni, “Land tenure policies in the Near East”; Moshe Dann, “Blood Libel; The Myth of  “private Palestinian land,” Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2011 reprinted; “Palestine Papers: Jews legally own land in the territories,” February 9, 2011, 2011; “ Maayana Misken, “Jews to Reclaim Land in Jordan?”; Green-lined, “PA: Jews Owned Land in Judea and Samaria,”  Feb. 10, 2011.

Peace Now reports and international media coverage of them:

See: Peace Now, “Breaking the Law in the West Bank — One Violation Leads to Another: Israeli Settlement Building on Private Palestinian Property”; “G U I L T Y! Construction of Settlements upon Private Land – Official Data”; and, all on Peace Now’s Israeli web site; Steven Erlanger, “West Bank Sites on Private Land, Data Shows,” New York Times, March 13, 2007; Nadav Shragai and Agencies, “Peace Now:: 32% of Land Held for Settlements is Private Palestinian Land,”, March 13, 2007.

Critical analyses of errors in the peace now reports:

CAMERA , “Update: Peace Now Map Based Only on Palestinian Claims,” December 2, 2006; Alex Safian, CAMERA, “Peace Now’s Blunder: Erred on Ma’ale Adumim Land by 15,900 Per Cent,”March 16, 2007; “Subject: Civil Administration Response to the ‘Peace Now’ Report“; Moshe Dann “Peace Now Flakes Out”; Maayana Miskin, “Peace Now to Pay and Apologize for Maligning Town,” December 11, 2008; CAMERA, Alex Safian, “Israeli Court : Peace Now Lied, Must Pay Now,” December 23, 2008.

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  • Larry

    The left have never let lack of facts get in the way of a good narrative, and often make them up out of thin air to support said narrative.

    Whenever a leftard "quotes" facts at you make sure you get an identifiable source………………

    I'm joking, it won't happen.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "I'm joking, it won't happen."

      Funny in a brutally sad way. This is what we have from Bill Clinton for promoting the reliability of the PA and Arafat along with all of the other creatures who gained from authentication of these lies. Once that happened, they found that spending enough money took care of the rest. Few would question the lies after the Oslo Accords trojan horse tactic succeeded.

      Carter = Iranian messianic Shia revolution
      Clinton = "Palestinians are legitimate"
      Obama = Arab Spring and "We don't want to fight over anything, but we'll keep sending drones to look tough for easily deceived swing voters."

      Destroy the Democratic Party and Islam.

  • Harvey High

    Actually many of the "settlements" sit on public lands that had once been Jordanian state-owned land, which then became Israeli state-owned land when the illegal Jordanian occupation of the West Bank was removed. SO these settlements are about as illegal as would be the US building a new town on federal lands.

  • Schlomotion

    End the illegal Arab occupation of Jewish lands.

    • Larry

      Continue the nakba for eternity.

      • FactsNotFictions


        "Nakba has become so false and distorted that there is no other way to describe it than by calling it by name: Rubbish – a collection of tall tales …" read here to learn the truth if you seek so:

  • Stern

    Perhaps it's time for the Shomrom council and other Judea and Samaria councils to get together and do what Revava did. Sue the b****ds! Take them to court for libel and publicize the decisions far and wide.

  • Schlomotion

    Ha! It's not Arab land. It's wasteland. It's not the West Bank, it's Judea and Samaria. Before that it was called Oonga Boonga and recent archeological discoveries prove that that prehistoric Jews discovered Oonga Boonga. This whole idea that Israel denies building permits to Palestinians who already own houses and then bulldozes them to build racially pure planned cities is just a lie ginned up by disgruntled self-hating Israelis.

    This is the Frank Luntz Global Language Dictionary being used slavishly. Watch what you say though. Rachel will sue you:

    If she loses, she'll get David Yerushalmi out of the back room to go after you for calling her a Kahanist and he'll call you a leftist idiot which is apparently legal if you have your own team of shysters to chase the ambulance of hurt feelings.


    Just remember if Rachel Neuwirth goes after you in court for your free speech, you can provide the list of times she has called people like Ilan Pappe a "Useful Idiot" and use her spurious argument that that is the same as calling someone a terrorist.

  • Omar

    How are Jewish settlements on "stolen land"? Jews have lived in the Holy Land continuously for over 3000 years. The Arabs started entering the area around the seventh century (when Islam was established), 600 years after the Roman conquest of 66 AD/CE (when the Romans renamed the Holy Land Palestine, a Latin name meaning the Philistines, who where Greek sailors with red hair. The Philistines were not Arabs). If the Arab states had accepted the 1947 UN partition, there would have been no settlement problem right now.

  • Bartimaeus

    It is interesting that words that were originally written some 3,000 years ago would most accurately describe the present situation between Israel and the Arabic speaking peoples.
    Psalm 83 (no doubt prophetic) speaks of a confederacy of peoples the descendents of which are now Arabic speaking peoples who are against the nation of Israel. The description of this confederacy as three main points. 1) They hate the God is Israel (Judeo-Christian) and are enemies of that God. Islam anyone. 2) They desire to destroy the nation of Israel. 3) They desire to take the land of Israel for there own possession. This is just a comment for those of you who might think the bible is irrelevant to present events. The conflict will continue until the prayer at the end of the Psalm is fulfilled.

  • aspacia

    Jews have resided in this area long before any Muslim lived there. Regardless of what Israel provides or trades for peace, the Muslims are sworn to destroy her. Give up. There will never be peace with your enemies.

  • PhillipGaley

    Why have the notions that all Jewish “settlements” are “illegal”, and have taken so firm a hold on the belief-systems of the world’s governments and news media?

    Well, in wishing to blink the facts—of the Balfour Declaration, the Conference as San Remo, and again, at the fictitious suggestion to the Palestinian Arabs, proffered by the Egyptian Arabs for abandonment of whatever claim to ownership which the Palestinian Arabs might have had, this, at the commencement of hostilities in 1947—the Lefties simply employ the puerile implementation of a rewrite of history, and offer it to the world.

    And so we see, it's not so much that, weak conceptualizations have "taken hold", as that, they are invented in knowing and wishful ignorance of historical facts of conquest—"To the victor belong the spoils."—then to maintain that set of inventions as a hopeful offering to generation after generation of the unlearned; the schools of elocution of the ancient Greeks taught: "Whatever is forcefully presented and plausibly maintained is history and law.". That is what we're up against—just keep on telling and retelling the truth of the matter, saying: "No.", the while; it's almost just that simple, . . . of course, there might have to be some more bullets and bombs. I'm not afraid of bullets and bombs—are you?

  • Salomon

    Neuwirth and Landau wrote an excellent summary about one –among thousands – concerted effort to disfigure reality. They should be highly commended for bringing this issue to light, even if it represents only the tip of a malfeasant iceberg of lies, false accusations, and slander aimed at Israel.

    The promoters of this overt campaign of delegitimation of Israel are well known and are not limited to Peace Now. They are often generously subsidized by foreign funds; they parrot Palestinian propaganda slavishly; and they do whatever they can to ignore or distort factual evidence.

    Regrettably, the Government of Israel has never taken this growing threat with the seriousness it deserves. The $5,000 fine levelled against Peace Now is just a slap on the wrist and is grossly inadequate.

  • Sunil Bajpai

    Please read the following article which may clarify many issues:

  • Wallace Brand

    This is quite an excellent article that should puts the lie to the biased claims of the NGO's such as Peace Now and BTselem. Of course that doesn't meant they won't continue to make their false claims. However I have found one minor change I would make. That is in the sentence "Israeli courts have forbidden the Israel government from confiscating any Arab-owned land for Jewish settlement since 1980" That implies there might have been confiscations prior to 1980. Instead of "confiscation" I think the author meant "expropriation" or "condemnation". Confiscation means a taking without compensation. I don't believe there have been any "confiscations" of land by the Israelis even before 1980. I asked one of the authors and she said a condemnation is what she meant. That is the term used when land is expropriated for a public use under the powers of eminent domain with full compensation to the owner.. "Confiscation" is used when no compensation is made — where the value goes into the public treasury. Under the Balfour Declaration adopted in the San Remo Agreement, and also under the cession of sovereignty under Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres, there is a limitation on the political rights of the Jews. They are prohibited from impairing the civil or religious rights of non-Jews when they exercise sovereignty. Civil rights includes the right to own property. This article confirms my own research that the Israelis have scrupulously adhered to that limitation.

  • Jossi

    A good article, which could be expanded to an essay or book(s). The situation is complex and simple at the same time, it depends from where and how you look at it, and above all who is looking.
    Legally Judea & Samaria are by all means lands of Israel; the article doesn't mention even once, as some comments have bravely done, the Declaration Balfour, San Remo and Sevres and especially WW2. An historical outline should have been given as an introductory explanation. Not having done that, it fails to connect important legal dots.
    I would like to make another point; in 1967, Israel won very big, the famous 6 day War. Israel, could have continued another short 6 days and push the so called Pals out. This was a strategic mistake, which unfortunately Israel is paying dearly. Seen what is happening in the Middle East today, the Pals can consider themselves fortunate for the situation they are in……(for the time being), but one day their time of the Judea and Samaria (and Gaza) sojourn, I'm personally confident will end…(If anyone has doubts, if suffices to read the Prophets on one side, and to use rationality on the other). New Gingrich got it very right when he declared that the Pals are an invented people.

  • John

    Al Teqiyya or the Big Lie is used by Arabs to further their illegitimate cause. The International law of San Remo and Palestine Mandate gave land rights to the Jews alone. They also deny Arabs political rights. All of this was also protected in the UN charter article 80. The recent Levy commission confirmed this. The Arabs and their anti-semitic Useful Idiots are nothing but liars and chancers.

  • Guess

    You guys are full of it, first you say that the land was a wasteland that no Arab owns. When the Arab officials complain about your buildings, you would say they have no legal rights to complain. Meanwhile you forget one thing: where you are building used to recently belong to someone else, just because you can snatch it from them by onquest, does not make it right, quite simple, you're right!

  • mikefoxtrot

    "…. Haaretz, which despite being published in Israel is actually a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority and its network of affiliated organizations…'

    a rather despicable lying piece of dreck claim.

  • Gideon

    Has anyone heard of Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine? The facts come straight from Israeli archives.