1953 Land Acquisition Law

Dublin Core


1953 Land Acquisition Law


This 1953 enacted law was the second of its kind legalizing retroactively the seizing of Palestinian land by the Israeli authorities. The first law was passed in 1950 (see previous entry “The Absentee Property Law of 1950”) and had focused on absentee landlords and their landholdings. This second installment was passed three years later and focused on the non-“absentee” citizens. This meant that all land uncultivated since 1948 and land cultivated but untitled by April 1952 which had been seized for the purpose of “settlement, security or ‘improvement’” was now legalized (Robinson, 12). As a result of this new law, the Israeli government had successfully expropriated another 40% of the land owned by Palestinians. Owners were offered compensation, which came in the form of alternative land plots or payments. However, alternative land plots were usually lower in quality or uncultivable and prices used for compensation were based on 1950 price levels, which were lower than contemporary price levels.
These two laws were part and parcel of an Israeli legalization process to otherwise questionable and previously illegal actions – the creation of law outside the law so to speak (Robinson, 8). As such, the Knesset provided settlers with “a moral alibi” to further disposes the Arabs within its borders (Robinson, 12). As a consequence, all land which had been illegally seized during the 1948 war and after was subsequently legalized. Nonetheless, the passing of the law did not go completely unnoticed and was in fact met with resistance (or at least condemnation) within Israel – the leftist party MAPAI voiced is concern and Foreign Minister Sharett labeled it “a scandalous robbery” (Robinson, 12).


Shira Robinson. Chapter 2 of Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s
Liberal Settler State (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, forthcoming 2013).

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Julia Bimler



“1953 Land Acquisition Law,” Palestinian Culture and Society, accessed April 25, 2019, https://apps.cndls.georgetown.edu/projects/palestinian-culture-and-society/items/show/68.