Release Report on Status of Land on the West Bank and Gaza Strip

A detailed report on the status of land on the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Israel’s conquest of those territories in 1967 was made public today. The figures show that the largest amounts of land are privately owned — mainly by Arabs — the next largest amounts are of uncertain ownership and the balance is State-owned.

The statistics were prepared by the Defense Ministry in connection with the Cabinet’s debate on settlement policy. They were leaked to military correspondent Zeev Schiff of Haaretz and published in that newspaper today to make sure that the public and the ministers have a clear picture of the issues under discussion.

According to the report, 61,000 dunams (15,000 acres) have been seized by the military authorities since 1967 on the basis of military requirements which is in accordance with international law that governs the acts of an occupying power. A somewhat larger acreage — 80,000 dunams (20,000 acres) — was freely purchased by the authorities from private owners. Of the 61,000 dunams, 40,000 have been utilized for civilian settlements. There are some 57 Jewish settlements of various types on the West Bank and eight in the Gaza Strip. They do not include the Jewish surburbs built in East Jerusalem.

The total amount of registered privately owned land on the West Bank is 3.2 million dunams and 253,000 dunams in the Gaza Strip. An additional 1,530,000 dunams on the West Bank and 63,000 dunams in the Gaza Strip are of uncertain ownership. The State owns 696,000 dunams on the West Bank and 40,000 dunams in the Gaza Strip.

There are 430,000 dunams of land on the West Bank and 8000 dunams in the Gaza Strip registered to absentee owners. Private Jewish-owned land, registered before 1948 totals 30,000 dunams on the West Bank and 800 dunams in the Gaza Strip. The total land area on the West Bank is 5,886,000 dunams.

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