Arab Land and Israeli Policy
Land is frequently defined as a space with three dimensions: surface, below surface and above surface, with many characteristics such as immobility and inexhaustibility; it can be used to satisfy different demands such as food production, or the construction of houses or transportation routes. The extraction of the resources that may exist in its depth in the form of water or different minerals is equally important.
The demand for land is thus an indirect demand for goods and services that may be produced or provided by the land. In this respect, the Arab community in Israel does not differ from any other community in the world, but a problem arises from the conflict of interest between their desire to exploit the potential of their land for their own benefit and the Israeli government's interest in gaining control over this valuable resource so that the Jewish community should derive maximum benefit from its exploitation. This is the problem that I am going to explore, hoping to throw light on some of its aspects, and pointing out the problems that have been created by this conflict between the interests of the minority and those of the majority.
My starting point here will be a discussion of the problems related to land ownership and those problems related to land use; I will try to illustrate these problems by showing their impact on the Arab citizens of the country.
Bakir Abu Kishk is Director of the Research Centre at Bir Zeit University.