The director general of the Jewish National Fund disclosed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the JNF is and has been buying land from Arab owners in the administered territories near Jerusalem and is assisting individual Jews “who wish to buy land” there. According to Shimon Ben Shemesh, this activity of the land reclamation and development agency is independent of any Cabinet resolutions and is undertaken in the knowledge that some of the land could conceivably be returned to Jordan–or to Palestinians–in the framework of a final peace settlement.
Asked what would happen in that eventuality.
Ben Shemesh replied that “exchange bargains will then take place.” He indicated that some of the Arab owners want to sell their land precisely because they think it will be returned to them some day as a result of a political settlement.
He said the JNF purchases were mainly in the regions near Bethlehem and Ramallah occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. He stressed that these purchases have nothing to do with possible annexation of the areas. He pointed out that the JNF. which was founded by the World Zionist Organization in 1901, is duty-bound to buy land for the Jewish people wherever it can do so. He said that in addition to the JNF, some Israeli citizens and private companies are interested in land purchases around Jerusalem.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.