The route from informal peasant landownership to formal tenancy and eviction in Palestine, 1800s-1947

Amos Nadan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Exogenous intervention in land ownership began with few court judgments prior to the weighty Land Code in 1858; but it was especially this law which officially overturned the status quo by permitting registration of cultivated land in the names of non-cultivators. This changed the rules of the game for the peasantry in Palestine. Informally, yet practically, peasants had been the de facto owners of almost all cultivated lands in Palestine for generations. Following the landmark intervention of 1858, non-peasants seized the opportunity to acquire economic assets. They purchased and confiscated peasant lands or manipulated registration of peasant lands into their own names, and the peasants often became their tenants. The additional purchase of lands by Zionist settlers in latter years, compounded by rural demographic growth, intensified this pressure. By 1930, three-quarters of Arab peasants in Palestine cultivated lands they no longer formally owned, while others were pushed to migrate to cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-256
Number of pages24
JournalContinuity and Change
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021

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