Arabs Demand Mount Canaan Under 500-year-old Document

Development of the northern Jewish settlements in this district is seriously threatened as the result of a dispute begun by Arab agitators imported from Jerusalem concerning ownership of land on Mount Canaan.

In Jewish hands for forty years, the land on Mount Canaan is now being claimed by the Arabs as part of Moslem religious property. Subhi Bey Khadra, notorious Moslem agitator, whom the Shaw Commission called “a sinister figure.” appeared at Safed accompanied by the extreme nationalist lawyer. Auni Abdul Hadi Bey, and produced a document alleged to have been written 500 years ago, purportedly proving that the land belonged to the Moslems. This document, if upheld, would annul the rights of the Jewish Colonization Association, which purchased the land forty years ago.

The document produced by the Arabs describes the boundary of the land as being “a spring and a pomegranate tree.” neither of which are to be found on the territory

District Commissioner S. H. Perowne immediately declared the land under dispute and prohibited any work there. Jewish farmers who tried to plough the land were arrested after the Arabs had turned out in force to prevent work. None of the Arabs was arrested, but M. Stern of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Safed, who supervised the ploughing, was ordered to post a £100 bond with police and was banished from Safed, where he has resided since birth.

All plans for the urban development of Safed, including construction, town planning and the building of a resort on the mountain, are at a complete standstill. The land was sold under the old Turkish administration and approved by the Turkish government. Under the British administration the title of the Jewish owners was upheld in 1925. Subsequently the land was divided among a number of colonization groups, including an American unit.

Not only do many investors face heavy losses if the Arab claim is upheld, but such a result, it is predicted, would mark the beginning of numerous suits contesting the validity of Jewish land titles in every part of Palestine.

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