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Miri Land

  Definition

Miri - Land owned by the government (originally the Ottoman crown) and suitable for agricultural use. Individuals could purchase a deed to cultivate this land and pay a tithe to the government. Ownership could be transferred only with the approval of the state. Miri rights could be transferred to heirs, and the land could be sub-let to tenants.  If the owner died without an heir or the land was not cultivated for three years, the land would revert to the state. The Hope-Simpson Report stated:

Agricultural property is commonly held by Miri title. Miri is property over which the right of occupation or of tenure can be enjoyed by a private person, provided that such right has been granted by the State. The absolute ownership remains vested in the Government, but the grant is in perpetuity, subject to certain conditions. Of these, the chief is continuous cultivation. If the land remains unproductive for three consecutive years it may revert to the State. In that case it may be redeemed by the possessor on payment of the unimproved capital value. If not so redeemed it is sold at auction to the highest bidder (Land Code, Article 68). It is not thought that the area of Mahlul* land is material. Freedom of disposition is allowed in the case of Miri land, with the exception that land of this character may not be bequeathed by will or constituted as Waqf.

There were in fact about 85,000 dunams of known Mahlul land, a fact that the British mandate government was not anxious to advertise, as it would be claimed by Zionists under article 6 of the Mandate, which called for encouragement of "close settlement" by Jews. This area was much smaller than the actual uncultivated area, since the government did not exercise its right to take back uncultivated Miri land.

Ottoman land ownership laws and the status of land ownership in Palestine were crucially important in the history of Zionism, because of Zionist attempts to purchase land, Arab and British attempts to block them, and subsequent claims by Arabs that they had "owned" most of the land in what is now the State of Israel.


Synonymsand alternate spellings:  

Further Information: See The Land Question In Palestine, 1917-1939 by Kenneth W. Stein, University of North Carolina Press, 1984; The Land Question in Palestine; Buying the Emek; Palestine's Rural Economy, 1917 - 1939;Arab Revolt  Zionism and Its Impact;  Mulk; Miri; Mahlul ; Waqf; Matruka; Mawat; Musha'; jiftlik


Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.


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This work is copyright 2007 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. This entry contains material that is copyright by MideastWeb for Coexistence   Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

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Miri Land