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JNF bill challenged by Arab proprietary database
by Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Oct. 23 2007
MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) announced Tuesday that he has formed a database for Arab-owned land in Israel. The database, he said, will be able to help the Arab public to prove ownership of allegedly confiscated land in northern Israel.
The notion behind the database came about after MKs Uri Ariel (National Union) and Ze`ev Elkin (Kadima) proposed a bill calling for Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) owned land, to be allocated to Jews only.
Poll: 81% of Israelis want JNF land for Jews only / Ynetnews
Poll shows overwhelming support for JNF policy of selling land to Jews only; strongest support among National Union-NRP, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism and Labor Party voters
`Not all the lands in Israel are owned by the Jews and the database will help prove that,` said Swaid, who claimed that some 80% of JNF lands were taken from the Arabs by force.
Swaid called on any member of the Arab public, who believe land owned by their families was nationalized in favor of the JNF, to come forward and supply the necessary ownership papers.
The lands, he said, would have been confiscated during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, in the Carmiel, Upper Nazareth, the Segev region and other areas in northern Israel.
`Those who profited from this confiscation want to prevent the rightful land owners from buying their land back… since we announced the database`s existence we have received dozens of applications,` said Swaid.
The NJF bill, which was approved 64:16, has been the subject of several High Court petitions so far and the Attorney General`s Office has been asked to present the court with its opinion on the matter.
The Israel Land Administration, said Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, is forbidden from discriminating land buyers on the basis of national affiliations.
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