Turkish Ruler’s Heirs Win Title to Tract of Palestine Land in Vital Test Case

HEIRS OF THE SULTAN ABDUL HAMID TODAY WON AN IMPORTANT TEST CASE AGAINST THE PALESTINE GOVERNMENT FOR TITLE TO 4,580 DUNAMS (ABOUT 1,000 ACRES) OF LAND IN THE VICINITY OF GAZA, ONCE THE PROPERTY OF THE TURKISH RULER.

THE ACTION, WHICH HAS DRAGGED ON FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND HAS BEEN ARGUED IN PALESTINE’S HIGH COURTS AS WELL AS IN THE PRIVY COUNCIL AT LONDON, IS BELIEVED TO ESTABLISH AN IMPORTANT PRECEDENT FOR SIMILAR ACTIONS BY HEIRS TO RECOVER VAST TRACTS IN PALESTINE REGISTERED AS THE SULTAN’S PERSONAL PROPERTY. THE GOVERNMENT HAD CLAIMED THE PROPERTY ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT AND SURRENDERED TO GREAT BRITAIN UNDER THE PEACE TREATY FOLLOWING CONQUEST OF THE HOLY LAND IN THE WORLD WAR.

THE LAND COURT, COMPOSED OF JUDGE PAUL E.F. CRESSALL, A BRITON, AND JUDGE ABDUL DAOUDI, AN ARABS, HAD DISAGREED WHEN THE CASE CAME BEFORE IT LAST JULY, THE FORMER RULING FOR THE HEIRS AND THE LATTER FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

TODAY’S RULING FOLLOWED FURTHER ARGUMENTS ON PROCEDURE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CLAIMING THAT WHERE THE JUDGES DISAGREED THEY SHOULD RULE THE PLAINTIFF HAD FAILED TO PROVE HIS CASE, WHILE ATTORNEY C.R. WEINSHALL, COUNSEL FOR THE HEIRS, ARGUED THAT ONCE THE COURT HAD DECIDED THE SULTAN’S TITLE TO THE LAND WAS GENUINE, ITS DISAGREEMENT SHOULD BE TAKEN AS PROOF THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD FAILED TO SATISFY THE COURT THAT THE GOVERNMENT CLAIM WAS VALID.

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