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U N I T E D N A T I O N S

Distr.


A/AC.25/W/83
5 October 1961



UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
INTERIM REPORT OF THE COMMISSION'S LAND EXPERT
ON THE IDENTIFICATION AND VALUATION OF ARAB
REFUGEE IMMOVABLE PROPERTY HOLDINGS IN ISRAEL


Section
I
IntroductionParagraphs1 – 5
Section
II
DefinitionsParagraph6
Section
III
IdentificationParagraphs7 – 19
Section
IV
Analysis and ValuationParagraphs20 – 89
Section
V
ConclusionParagraphs90 - 101
APPENDICES:

A/1

Schedule of areas of Arab-owned land and buildings in Rural Areas (Excluding Beersheba)
A/2Schedule of areas of Vacant sites and Total N.A.V. of buildings being Arab-owned property in Urban Areas.
B/1Schedule of urban areas containing Arab-owned property.
B/2Schedule of Range of Values for Vacant sites and Range of Multipliers for buildings for Arab-owned property in Urban Areas.
B/3Schedule of Range of Values for Arab-owned Property in Rural Areas by Tax Categories (excluding Beersheba Sub-district).
CSchedule of Tax Categories under the Rural Property Tax Ordinance, 1942.
DClassification of Palestine into Land and Rainfall Zones.
ESchedule of Areas by Sub-Districts of Arab Villages excluded from overall valuation classified by Tax Category groupings.

1. INTRODUCTION


1. The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine which has always considered that the Compensation question holds a most important place in the refugee problem as a whole requested the Secretary-General in 1952 to set up a special staff to undertake, first, the identification and then the valuation of Arab immovable property holdings in Israel for which compensation might be claimed. Under the direction of Land Experts the Commission's Office for Identification and Valuation has carried on the project both at Headquarters in New York and in Jerusalem. The bulk of the identification work was done in Jerusalem from which city it was possible to obtain access to the various necessary records. The valuation work has been largely carried out with a smaller specialist staff at New York.

2. The purpose of the identification and valuation project was to provide reliable, detailed and complete information on the basis of which:

3. The purpose of identification was to bring into existence a compact record of individual Arab land holdings in Israel which could be used, if the parties so desired, as a basis for verifying individual claims to ownership. The identification was to describe the ownership, interest in, and nature of, each holding as at the date of the termination of the British mandate, namely, 15 May 1948.

4. Valuation is a natural corollary of identification without which the project would be incomplete. The values to be ascertained were the market values of the various holdings as at the date of the adoption by the General Assembly of the Partition Plan, namely, 29 November 1947.

5. The following paragraphs explain in detail the methods adopted to achieve the identification and the initial phase of the valuation, namely, the aggregate figure representing the overall value of Arab refugee property.


II. DEFINITIONS

6. In this report the words and terms set out hereunder are used in the sense indicated unless the context otherwise requires.

III. IDENTIFICATION

7. The territory held by Israel under the Armistice Agreements comprises some twenty million dunums about half of which constitutes what is commonly know as the "Negev." Again about half of the ten million dunums of the land outside the "Negev* was "settled" under the Land (Settlement of Titles) Ordinance. Essentially the identification consists of preparing for each parcel owned by Arabs, including partnerships, companies and cooperative societies a basic form (RP/1) giving, as at the termination of the British mandate, the location, area, description, names of owners and their shares, particulars of encumbrances (e.g. mortgages, leases), taxation category or N.A.V. whichever is applicable, and the consideration recorded in any sale which took place in 1946 – 1947. No attempt has been made in the identification project to distinguish between those Arabs who are refugees and those who are not, as the distinction is outside the present resources of the Office. In addition record forms have also been prepared for the following classes of land. In each case the form makes the exact status clear:

i. Land owned by religious bodies.
ii. Land recorded as State Domain but which was subject to transfer to Arabs on payment by them of the unimproved value of the land (badl mithl).
iii. Land recorded as State Domain but which had been occupied by Arabs for many years and which was regarded by the Mandatory Government as let to the occupiers under implied leases.
iv. Land recorded as State Domain but which was let to Arabs under long term leases.
v. Land owned by non-Arabs but which was let to Arabs under long term leases.

8. The identification was extended to cover the "no man's land" in the Jerusalem-Ramle area and the "demilitarized zones" in the northern region and Beersheba Sub-district. In the case of "settled" villages cut by the Armistice line it was possible to ensure that only those parcels falling wholly or partly on the Israel side of the line were included. In the "non-settled" villages where the exact location of the parcel is not known, all Arab owned parcels in the fiscal blocks cut by the line were included, even though some of them fall on the Jordan held side of the line.

9. The principle observed by the office throughout the identification project has been to include rather than exclude doubtful cases on the grounds that it would be comparatively easy to exclude such cases at a later stage. It is possible for example that there are a number of Jews of oriental origin who have Arabic names and are consequently included but their number is likely to be so snail as not to cause the identification to be suspect on their account*
10. It is estimated that the total number of basic forms (RP/1) will on completion be in the order of 430,000. The total number of fiscal blocks is 1,705 and of registration blocks 6,619 making a total of 10,324 blocks outside of the rural area of Beersheba Sub-district. All the information recorded on the forms is official in the sense that it is taken from the records of the Mandatory Administration in Palestine. The Office has specifically avoided hearsay evidence or information which is unsupported by documentary evidence from official sources.

11. The various documents consulted are set out below and a description of each is included in the Definition section of this report. In the case of the Registers of Title photographic copies prepared on microfilm by the Mandatory Administration were used. When the film was illegible or non-existant and in the case of other documents, the originals were examined with the cooperation of the authorities concerned in Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Syria.

a. Registers of Title.
b. Registers of Deeds.
c. Tax Distribution Lists.
d. Field Valuation Sheets.
e. Schedule of Rights.
f. Parcel Classification Schedules.
g. Land Registrar's Returns of Dispositions.
h. Village Maps and Block Plans.

13. It will be noted that in the case of "settled" land the essential data for identification is obtained from the Registers of Title. As those Registers provide absolute proof of title, the identification may be said to be positive and definite. As the photographs were made some months before the termination of the Mandate, it was necessary to incorporate in the basic form (RP/1) all the transactions registered subsequently by reference to the Registrars' Returns of Dispositions.

Special Problems

14 In the case of "non-settled" land both in the urban and rural areas the identification based on the Field Valuation Sheets, Tax Distribution Lists and Registers of Deeds is not so definitive. The names recorded in these documents are the reputed owners or the persons responsible for paying the tax. While in the majority of cases the name is most likely to be correct, the documents themselves do not constitute absolute proof of title. Further, the tax documents do not necessarily show all the share holders in any particular property as the tax authorities were only concerned to indicate any one share holder who they then held responsible for the tax.

15. A deficiency in the identification project occurs in the case of certain areas of land in "non-settled" villages. In the case of those areas as indicated in paragraph 12 above the names of owners have been obtained from Tax Distribution Lists, the compilation of which was the responsibility of Village Tax Distribution Committees. The duty of the Committee was to apportion the total amount of tax payable by the village, assessed by the Government officials on the basis of the various tax categories, to the different individual owners according to the category of the land owed. No special problem was involved in the case of parcels in categories 1-15. However, uncultivable and some marginal land in rural areas were placed in Category 16 under the Rural Property Tax Ordinance, and because such land was not liable to tax, the Tax Distribution Committees did not always make a distinction in their records of "non-settled" villages between land of that kind which was used in common by all the inhabitants of the village and that which was privately owed. In the "non-settled" villages the Office was obliged to use the taxation records as the basis of its identification and was therefore unable to make this distinction. Accordingly, such land has been excluded as not being privately owned. Some 800,000 dunums are affected by this difficulty.

16. The Beersheba Sub-district contained about twelve Mid one half million dunums, most of which was desert, and none of which was "settled" under the Land (Settlement of Title) Ordinance. In the "Village Statistics 1945" published by the Mandatory Administration the figure of 1,935,000 dunums was included as Arab owned cultivable land, some 60,000 dunums of which are now in Jordan and the Gaza Strip. In this Sub-district rural and taxation rested on a system of commuted tithes. The. tithe records which might have formed the basis of identification have not been found. The Registers of Deeds were examined and registration therein was found to account for only 200,000 dunums of which about 64,000 dunums wore registered in the names of Arabs. Basic forms (RP/1) have been prepared so far only for Arab owned lands included in the Register of Deeds. The information is confined to the name of the locality in which the property was situated and the boundaries of each ownership are roughly defined by physical description. It seems reasonable to suggest that any non-Bedouin, acquiring land in the Beersheba sub-district, would have taken steps to register it in order to be in a better position to resist encroachments upon it. If this is so the remainder of the two million dunums of cultivable land may be regarded as having been cultivated by the Bedouins. No precise information has yet been obtained concerning the areas which may be owned by either individual Bedouin or by the Bedouin tribes though the areas in which the various tribes were found are indicated by the tribal name on most contemporary maps of the territory.

17. In the case of the following urban areas and villages the identification ie incomplete for the reasons stated:

Ramle Urban Area

The identification is complete in the case of seven "settled" blocks with the exception of the insertion of the N.A.V. The Meld Valuation Sheets have not been found for this urban area so that it has not been possible to complete the identification for the "non-settled" blocks. However, Meld Valuation Sheets dated 1940A1 have been found for eleven blocks out of twenty-one and these have been used, but owing to the date, the identifiJoa^d.bn may be incorrect.

Beersheba Urban Area

The Meld Valuation Sheets have not been found. A United amount of identification has been possible by an examination of the Register of Deeds, but it cannot be regarded as in any way complete.

Villages

In the case of Bureij, Deiraban, Jarash and Khirbat Isntallah, no Tax Distribution Lists have been found, but in the case of Deiraban about half of the identification has been completed by reference to the provisional Land Settlement records. In the case of Belt Jimal, Deir Rafat, Lifta, Suba, Dalata, Malikiya and Rosh el Ahmer the Tax Distribution Lists for one or more blocks have not been found.

18. A summary of the areas of all rural land excluding Beersheba Sub-district has been prepared and is attached as Appendix A/I to this report. This summary lists the areas under the various tax categories in which they are classified. A summary of the urban areas showing the N.A.V. of buildings and the area of vacant sites is also attached as Appendix A/2. The figures contained in Appendix A/L have been adjusted to exclude the estimated areas of fiscal blocks falling on the Jordan side of the Armistice Line. A supplementary document showing the breakdown of these areas by villages, urban areas .and also the areas in non-Arab ownership is in course of preparation.

19. The basic forms (RP/1) are filed in the records of the Office under the name of the town or village in which the parcel they represent is situated. For the purpose of ensuring that the process of identification is complete, lists (RP/3) were also prepared for land owned by the State, other public authorities, Jews and ether non-Arab individuals showing the area so owned. This area, added to that owned by Arabs was compared with official records of the extent of the land in each urban area and village.


IV. ANALYSIS AND VALUATION

Principles adopted

20. In accordance with the broad terms of reference set out in paragraph 5 above, the Office has conducted its work with the object of ascribing to each parcel of Arab owned land a value equivalent to the price which might have been realized on a sale of the parcel in the open market on 29 November 1947 and ultimately to apportion such value to individual owners. This latter stage has not yet been reached. This report is confined to the valuation of the total Arab land holding and an approximate estimate of the total value of the land holding of these Arabs who are refugees.

21. In its progress report to the Secretary-General covering the period 23 January to 19 November 1951 (G.A.O.R. Sixth Session Supplement No.18 [A/1985]) the Commission stated that its Refugee Office had estimated that the total value of the immovable property abandoned by Arab refugees was 100 million Palestine Pounds. This estimate was based on the value of the land for its existing use and Annex A to the report described in detail the method adopted in arriving at this estimate.

22. The valuation project at present in progress and of which a detailed description is set out in subsequent paragraphs, differs from the "global" figure referred to in paragraph 21 in the method of approach. In the "global" estimate an overall figure of the value of property for its existing use was arrived at by taking the broadly similar types of land and estimating their value whereas in the work described in subsequent paragraphs each individual parcel of land is being valued having regard to its individual market value at the 29 November 1947. The aggregate of such valuation will exceed the global figure for a number of reasons the principal of which are as follows:

23. In approaching the task of individual valuation the Office has based its work on two fundamental principles: 24. In order to achieve the first principle it was necessary to find some method of establishing the similarity of the various parcels of land, both in the urban and in the rural areas, as no physical inspection was possible. In the case of the urban areas the factor common to all parcels is the Net Annual Value and in the rural areas (with the exception only of the Beersheba Sub-district) the common factor is the classification into various tax categories.

25. As regards the second basic principle it is not of course possible to obtain a sufficient number of sales at or about the actual date of valuation namely, 29 November 1947, and it was decided to consider all the sales which took place in the two years prior to the valuation date. This period was selected as being a period after which the market might be presumed to have settled down following the end of World War II and before it was affected by the disturbances which took place in Palestine following the adoption of the Partition Plan. It may be noted when it was apparent that the level in prices was changing as between the beginning and the end of the period those changes were taken into account in establishing the level of value.

26. By law the parties to a transaction were required to appear before the Registrar of Lands. A fee based on the consideration was charged for registering the transaction. The parties were therefore required to declare to the Registrar of Lands the consideration involved. It was the duty of the Registrar to make his own assessment of what the consideration was and calculate the fee accordingly. The Registrars lived in the districts in which they operated and dealt with a vast number of transactions and they would have a shrewd idea as to the true value of any particular property. Having regard to these factors, it is considered that the declared or assessed value (whichever is the higher) is a fair guide to value.

27. Adoption of these principles ensures that the value ascribed to any particular holding is its true market value in the hands of the owner and not its value to the acquiring authority i.e. the State of Israel. On the other hand it does not necessarily represent the capital sum which would be required to produce an income on investment equivalent to any income issuing out of such property.

Method of Valuation

28. As different criteria are involved, it will be convenient to describe the method of valuation adopted under the heads of!

A. Urban Lands
B. Rural Lands


29. Urban Lands are those to which the Urban Property Tax Ordinance applied and a list of Urban areas in which Arabs owned property is attached as Appendix B/1. As stated above the criterion common to all urban properties, i.e. buildings and undeveloped land (hereafter referred to as "vacant sites"), was the Net Annual Value (N.A.V.) It is necessary t-. explain briefly what is meant by N.A.V.

30. Under the Urban Property Tax Ordinance the N.A.V. of any building was the rent for which such building might be expected to let from year to year after deduction of a statutory allowance for repairs. The assessment committee which was required to assess such N.A.V. was required to have regard to:

In the case of vacant sites, the N.A.V. was to be six percent of the sum which the land if sold in open market between a willing soller and a willing purchaser might be expected to realize. The N.A.Vs were All reassessed at intervals of five years. Exceptions to this five year assessment rule became necessary when an individual property was altered in character e.g. a vacant site developed by the erection of a building.

31. From the above it will be observed that if the law had been correctly administered, the N.A.V. would have been a fair comparison between different properties within any one town and at a certain date. All that would have been necessary would have been to establish a suitable multiplier of the N.A.V. to obtain the capital or market value. An examination of the sale prices in all classes of property at different levels of N.A.V. indicates that there was some under assessment measured in terns of what the N.A.Vs would have been in 1947/48.

32. In considering the valuation of urban property, a distinction was made between "vacant sites" and buildings owing to the different basis of N.A.V. This distinction was made possible by an examination of the Field Valuation Sheets.


33. In the case of vacant sites it will be recalled that the basis of N.A.V. was 6% of the capital value. Further, in any urban area the great majority of the N.A.Vs will have been based on capital values fixed at the same date (the quinquennial valuation). The capital figure was normally assessed at a certain figure per square metre and then adjusted to correspond with the precise area of the particular pa reel. Thus it is possible to proceed direct to a comparison of capital values per unit of area to establish the different values of vacant sites in different localities.

34. The first step was to mark on large scale plans each vacant site parcel which was Arab owned using a colour code to indicate the capital value per unit of area as assessed by the tax authorities. From these plans it was possible to Obtain a picture of the relative level of values of vacant sites in the different districts of any urban area. Due regard was had during this process to any "revised" values which differed in date of assessment from the majority. These values may be called "Tax Values."

35. Next an examination of all the available sales for the urban areas concerned was made and prices reduced to a figure per square metre and these again were marked on the aforementioned large scale plans, together with the date at which the sale took place. These values may be called "Sale Values." By this procedure it was possible to ascertain the trend of value between 1 Jan. 1946 and 29 November 1947. It was found that the trend was by no means uniform as between different urban areas or even between different parts of the same urban area. The sale values were then adjusted where necessary to conform with the sale deemed to have taken place on 29 November 1947.

36. A comparison of Tax Values and Sale Values now established the relationship between the two and it became possible to ascribe a market value per unit of area to each parcel within the urban area. The capital values of the whole of each parcel at 29 November 1947 were then obtained by a simple mathematical process.

37. It is emphasized that, where necessary, parts of an urban area were considered separately and due regard was had, when fixing the market values, to the level of value in adjoining parts of the area. Whereas some of the small urban areas could be dealt with as a single unit, the largo towns generally split into obvious areas of different character. These areas were not delineated by any arbitary rule in arriving at their value but were carefully calculated by the comparison of tax values and sales values as described above.


38. As regards buildings, the parcels included under this head are all Arab-owned buildings together with the land on which they stand and the curtilage surrounding them where it is included in the same assessment.

39. In the case of buildings an entirely different approach to the problem was necessary, owing to the fact that the N.A.V. was not, by its legal definition, tied to a capital value as in the case of vacant sites. It is normal valuation practice in calculating capital value to multiply the annual net income of a property by a suitable multiplier. This multiplier is found by estimating the interest which the market would require if the capital sums were to be invested in the property, e.g. if a 6% rate of interest were required, this figure is divided into 100 and the result 16.66 is the multiplier by which the income is converted into capital value.

40. By definition the N.A.V. should approximate to the annual income from any particular property, and had the assessment, of N.A.V. been up to date it would have been a simple matter to estimate the different multipliers for different classes of property and proceed direct to capital value.

41. However, a cursory examination of sale prices as against corresponding N.A.V. indicated that the latter were in fact under-assessed and that a correspondingly higher multiplier was required to arrive at the sale price.

42. Further, the brief description of the building obtained from the Field Valuation Sheet was found to be insufficient as a guide to the relative values of different buildings.

43. For a similar reason it was found impossible to relate sale prices to the description of the building e.g. number of floors, number of rooms, type of construction. No doubt such a relationship existed but the scarcity of the data precluded any reliable valuation on the basis of a description of the building.

44. On the other hand it is considered that the N.A.V. (whether it be under-

assessed or not) would correctly indicate the relative similarity of holdings having a similar N.A.V. assessed at the same date.

45. The method finally adopted was a modification of the formula N.A.V. x multiplier baaed on an interest rate. Instead the multiplier was found directly by dividing the sale price by the N.A.V. of the building to which the sale price referred. As a first step this division of sale price by N.A.V. was carried out for each sale price.

46. An inspection of the results of this operation for any one urban area revealed that the multiplier for any particular level of N.A.V. was remarkably similar. Accordingly it was decided to group N.A.Vs in brackets of LP 25 and to apply the same multiplier to all the N.A.Vs within that bracket.

47. It was found that the maximum under-assessment occurred in the lower brackets and that the level of this under-assessment gradually decreased with the increase in N.A.V.

48. The method adopted also has the merit that it provided automatically for differences in the years of assessment of N.A.Vs in different towns.

49. The recorded sales in respect of urban areas were many. However, a disproportionately high number were related to buildings in the lower net annual value brackets (which reflected the higher density of parcels in those brackets). In the higher N.A.V. brackets the position was not as satisfactory as could have been wished. The parcels in the top brackets were the least represented while the next lower brackets generally fared better. However, the overall pattern obtained enabled a reasonably accurate approximation to be made which, owing to the decrease in level of underassessment noted in paragraph 47, was capable at being checked by the interest on investment method.

50. An examination of the N.A.V. of all the parcels in any urban area presented a total and revealing picture of the nature of the area, namely, the total number of buildings the locale of their density and range of net annual values and the total area of vacant land.

51. In the urban areas of Ramie and Beersheba the essential documents, namely, the Field Valuation Sheets from which the N.A.Vs of the different parcels could be extracted are missing, with the exception that, in respect of eleven blocks in Ramle, the 1940/41 documents were found. Consequently it has so far pet been possible to adopt the detailed analysis which was carried cut in the other urban areas.

52. In the case of the Ramle urban area a comparison was made with the adjoining area of Lydda. Three lines of study were developed:

a) The following data was extracted for the urban area of Lydda:

i. Number of buildings
ii. Area of vacant sites
iii. Area of buildings and their curtilages
iv. Population (Village Statistics 1945)

The assumption was made that the number of buildings was directly proportional to the population and hence the number of buildings in Ramle could be calculated. A further assumption was made that the two urban areas were similar in character and therefore a simple calculation produced the area of the buildings and their cartilages, and by deduction from the known total area of Ramle the area of the vacant sites was estimated. The valuation was then carried out as a direct comparison with Lydda on the assumption that values would be similar in the two areas.

b) The total amount of tax payable in the two urban areas was known and on the assumption that the nature and growth over the period 1945-1947 (1944/45 being the year of tax assessment) was similar, a direct comparison was possible between the tax payable and the capital value calculated by the method described in paragraphs 33 – 50.

c) The capital value for all the main towns as calculated by the method previously described was divided by the tax payable and resulted in a factor of 600 which was applied to the tax payable in the Ramie urban area. Methods (a) and (b) are considered the more reliable as direct comparison is made between two similar and adjoining urban areas, whereas method (c) introduces ether factors not common to either.

53. The Beersheba urban area presented a more difficult problem in that there was no adjoining urban area which would be assumed to have similar characteristics. In this case two possible methods of comparison were studied:

a) The total capital value of all the smaller urban areas as calculated by the method described in paragraph 33 - 50 was divided by the tax payable and resulted in a factor of 570 which we applied to the tax payable in Beersheba urban area.

b) The total capital value of the towns referred to in (a) above was compared to the total population (obtained from Village Statistics 1943) and resulted in a factor of 108 which was applied to the population of Beersheba urban area. The range of values for vacant sites and range of multipliers for buildings is shown in Appendix B/3.

A. Rural Lands

54. Rural lands are those to which the Urban Property Tax Ordinance did not apply. As elated in paragraph 25 the criterion common to all rural lands with the exception of the Beersheba. Sub-district was a classification into various Tax Categories under the Rural Property Tax Ordinance. An explanatory list of the tax categories is attached as Appendix C to this report.

55. With the exception of the Beersheba Sub-district each parcel of rural land ("settled" or "non-settled") was classified under one or more of the tax categories and tax was payable accordingly on the area of the individual pared in accordance with its category or categories.

56. The original classification (April 1935) was carried out by Government-appointed Committees. Thereafter the classification of the land was under a system of continuous revision as changes in land use took place. In the vast majority of cases fruit land (other than citrus, and bananas) and irrigated land was found to be classified in the categories 5-8. Similarly, although some cultivable (ground crop) land came under category 8, the majority fell within the group 9-15. For all practical purposes, therefore, the total area of land under categories 5-8 represents fruit plantations (other than citrus and bananas) and that under categories 9 - 15, cultivable (ground crop) land. It will be noted that this broad division has been adopted for the purposes of the Village Statistics 1945 where, however, cultivable (ground crop) land was sub-divided into two Groups, 9 - 13 and 14 – 15. In the analysis of sale prices as described in the following paragraphs, the value within the-above groups of categories in any one village were found to vary slightly or not at all. In view of this and since these groupings afforded a broader basis of analysis, no distinction was made between one category and another in each group. The Tax groupings adopted were as follows:

57. The Mandatory Administration prepared for the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry in 1946 a classification of the whole of Palestine by topography, soil types and rainfall. This classification fell into ten zones which are set out in detail in Appendix D to this report. These zones are referred to hereafter as Regional Zones. They are indicated on a map and the zone classification of any particular block was readily identifiable.

58. From a study of the tax categories and the regional zones in any particular village it was possible to distinguish the parcels having similar characteristics and it was on this basis that the valuation was carried out.Lands other than Garden or Fringe Areas

59. As a first step in the valuation process all the sale prices of transactions which took place in the years 1946 - 1947 were analysed for each village. The analysis consisted of setting out on forms the block and parcel number, the area of the parcel, the tax category, the date and amount of the consideration (as assessed or declared) and the share of the whole which was being sold. From this it was possible to deduce the sale price per dunum and consequently the value per dunum of the whole parcel.

60. The result of this analysis was transferred to summary sheets and the total area of each parcel affected by a sale was multiplied by the value per dunum to . give the total value of the parcel. This was done for each tax category or groups of tax categories in each village and where necessary for the different regional zones. It was then possible to obtain the average price for all land of the same tax classification in the same zone in each village.


61. It was realized that there were two other classes of rural land which did not admit of analysis on the tax category basis, namely: 62. It became apparent at an early stage that the land in the "Garden Area" had a higher value than the surrounding land and this was therefore treated as falling within a separate tone and the average value calculated accordingly.

63. It also became apparent that the land adjoining large tows had a special value and these were treated differently in that the analysis of the sale prices was not related to tax categories. It was found that such land had a value in excess of its value for existing use which was attributable to the prospect of development by buildings or other purposes required by the proximity of the urban area. In these cases the values did not vary with the tax category in the same way as they did in the case of the purely rural areas, the sale prices were therefore analysed for each block and an appropriate value for the Arab-owned parcels in each block was deduced.

Valuation

64. The results of the analysis were then plotted on plans to a colour code by value and a clear picture was thus presented of the different values prevailing in each village and an overall picture of the trend of value throughout the country. It was therefore a simple matter to deduce values for those villages where the sale data was scanty or lacking altogether.

65. Master Sheets for each village including border villages in so far as the land falls in Israel were then produced showing the total area of Arab-owned property for each relevant tax category or group of tax categories within each Regional Zone as well as for the "Garden area" where applicable. The deduced value of each was then applied and a total market value for each village calculated. The range of value in each Sub-district and for each Tax Category is shown in Appendix B/4. In the case of the land adjoining urban areas, the total Arab-owned area in each block was multiplied by the value found to be appropriate for each. The values in this case ranged up to LP 3,000 per dunum.

Built-on areas

66. The village built-on-areas which were classified under Tax Category 4 presented special difficulties arising from the following circumstances:

67. Village Development Survey plans to a large scale. prepared in 1946, were available in a substantial number of villages and approximately 50 of these were studied in great detail. This study revealed that the built-on-areas ran remarkably true to type. In each of the villages studied the areas of the buildings were accurately measured both in the case of the buildings actually within the built-on-area and those which had been erected on land of other tax categories outside the built-on-area.

68. The area of the buildings within the built-on-area was then compared with its total area. The consistency of building coverage particularly within Sub-districts was of a sufficiently high order to justify the use of the percentage building coverage as a method of estimating the total area of buildings within the built-on-area.

69. In those built-on-areas where settlement of title operations had been carried out and consequently where the location of each individual parcel was known, a study was also made of the area of land covered by buildings in different sizes of parcels. Fourteen such villages were so studied. This study revealed a definite percentage of building coverage for different groups of parcels taken by area. As might have been expected the smaller parcels had the greater building percentage. It was not feasible to use the data from this study in arriving at the total value of any built-on-area but the information may well prove of benefit in arriving at the value of individual parcels in a subsequent operation.

70. In the absence of any reliable data as to the value of buildings and land in the open market it is a common practice of valuation to deduce a value by adding together the value of the land and the cost of the buildings. The method has considerable drawbacks, the chief of which are:

Nevertheless it was considered that some modified version of the above basis was the: only possible method to adopt in the circumstances.

71. In the case of a few of the "settled" built-on-areas, sales transactions were available which could be attributed to individual parcels of land and buildings. from which it was possible by analysis to deduce the approximate value of the building as a price per square metre after deducting the value of the land.

72. It was accordingly decided to adopt a figure per square metre as the average value of buildings over the country as a whole. It will be noted that this figure being derived from actual sale prices, reflects the effects of depreciation and changes in market value.

73. Again very little evidence was available as to the value of vacant sites in built-on-areas. The original rate of tax in built-on-areas was 10% of a low capital value of LP 27 per dunum for the land only. In 1944/45 the tax rate was quadrupled, which may be considered to reflect the increased capital value which would then be LP 106 per dunum. From a study of the few sales available in "settled" built-on-areas, and from a comparison with vacant sites in small urban areas, insufficient evidence was available to form a reliable guide as to the value of any particular built-on-area vacant site.

74. It seems reasonable to suppose that the vacant sites in built-on-areas would bear a relationship to the values found for the "Garden area" which generally encircles the built-on-area. It might be argued that the values within the built-on-area would be no higher, than that immediately adjoining, but such evidence as does exist indicates that this is hot so, and that the value of built-on-Area land exceeds that of "Garden area" land. This is supported by the official tax valuers' views in assessing the capital value at LP 27 in 1935. In order to establish the relationship between "Garden area" value with that of a vacant site in a built-on-area, the villages having the lowest garden area value were studied and it was found that if these lowest values were multiplied by 3 a figure of approximately LP 100 resulted. It was accordingly decided to adopt three times the "Garden area" value as the value of built-on-area vacant land.

75. From a consideration of the above it will be apparent that the total value of the built-on-area can be obtained by combining the building coverage in square metres multiplied by the value per metre and the value of the bare land, calculated at three times the "Garden area" value. However, study of the large scale plans indicated that in most cases there is a certain amount of building outside the built-on-area, and such building would be excluded by the above calculation. It was therefore decided to extend the built-on-area study to include such buildings, and as no comparison between building area and land area could be made, it seemed reasonable to base the total area of buildings on the total population, which is obtained from the village Statistics 1945.

76. In the "Survey of Social and Economic Conditions in Arab Villages" published in 1944 by the Mandatory Administration, five carefully selected villages are studied in great detail. In a chapter on family groups the Survey concludes that "about 70% of all persons are included in families of 4 - 7 members. The most predominant size is 5 – 6 persons." In another chapter on Housing the conclusion

is drawn that in a family of 5 the average density of persons per dwelling unit of one room was 2.9 and for a family of 6 it was 3.1.

77. From the Office study of building area and population and from the study of the large scale maps themselves it appeared that the average dwelling unit of one room had an area of between 25 and 35 square metres. It would appear therefore that the average family would occupy a two room house containing an area of approximately 60 square metres.

78. The method finally adopted to arrive at the value of land and buildings in the built-on-areas and the buildings only outside the limit of the built-on-area was as follows:

This process was carried out for each village, and it is considered that the resulting capital value represents a fair and reasonable assessment of the market value of the buildings, and land in the built—on-areas, together with other buildings in the environs.

79. However, it was thought desirable to check the total result by a more direct method not so closely related to the population figures. From the study of 50 villages described in paragraph 67 above, the total area of buildings both within and outside the limits of the built-on-area was compared with the total area of the latter and a percentage coverage deduced. These percentages were applied to the total areas of the built-on-areas in each Sub-district and the result gave the estimated total of building area. The result multiplied by the value per metre was added to the value of the land obtained as before.

80. difference in the two figures is accounted for by the fact that the latter takes into account out buildings, etc., whereas the former is based on the occupied rooms only. However, the second method also applies the building multiplier to these but-buildings, which is incorrect as their value is likely to be less than that of the dwelling houses. It seems reasonable therefore to employ a mean of the two figures and the resulting figure has been used in the valuation process.

81. Within the built-on-areas there generally existed one or more small industrial buildings such as an olive press or a flour mill. In most cases these are not identified by the tax lists as their net annual value was under LP 20. In order to include a value in these cases, in which no transaction has been recorded, the total figure found for each built-on-area was. rounded up to the next highest LP 1,000. Their value is essentially small and for the purposes of the estimate it is considered that their value is adequately covered by this addition.

Beersheba Sub-district

82. As mentioned in paragraph 54 the land in the Beersheba Sub-district was not classified into tax categories as in the rest of the country and accordingly a different method of valuation has therefore had to be adopted. It is convenient to regard the whole area as divided into:

a) Cultivable Land
b) Rough grazing and Desert Lands

83. In the first place this vast region of twelve and one half million dunums was not divided into administrative villages as it was in other Sub-districts where lands sold could be precisely or reasonably accurately located in each village. The sales in the Beersheba Sub-district therefore had to be identified with the general location of the land sold if not the precise location. Fortunately, enough information was obtained from the Registers of Deeds and the basic forms (RP/1) to enable this to be done i.e. the name of the tribal area, the name of the locality and the boundaries of each registered area proved to be sufficient guides in almost all cases.

84. The locations of all sales were plotted on a general map of the area with the value per dunum realized on the sale. The estimated values per dunum of cultivable land other than that which was tree-planted or built-upon ranged between a high of LP 15 and a low of LP 4. A decrease in value corresponded with an increase in the distance from inhabited areas and main lines of communication.

85. Using this sales information and by a careful study of topographical maps and the Regional Zones the capital value of all Arab-owned cultivable land in the Beersheba Sub-district, after allowing for trees and building was estimated at LP 15,000,000.

86. It remains only to consider the value of the rough grazing and desert areas which comprise the rest of the Sub-district. It may be argued that the ten and one-half million dunums of uncultivable land had no value but this argument is untenable as the area did, at least in part, support a nomadic population. It is most unlikely that such lands were sold in the open market and certainly this Office has no information covering any transactions in land which may have taken place. For these reasons the Office has found itself unable at this stage to put forward any figure to represent the value of this uncultivable land until such time as further information and evidence may become available.


V. CONCLUSION


87. The Office has adhered strictly to the basic principles of consistency and fairness in relating the valuation of all Arab-owned immovable property holdings in Israel to actual market transactions and has studied all the information available ^from official sources both as to the identification and valuation projects. It is considered that the results obtained are as fair and reasonable as the sources permit.

88. To attain the purpose of this report, namely, an estimate of the value of the immovable property of Arab Refugees, it is now necessary to consider how much should be deducted from the overall total This deduction is the property value attributable to the Arabs who remained in Israel territory. A reasonably accurate answer to this could be deduced given a complete list of the Arab refugees registered by UNRWA or alternatively a complete list of the Arabs residing in Israel and if this information were available to compare with the owners recorded in the Office. It must be noted, however, that the task would have been a formidable one and would have required a considerable period of time to carry out. The fact that the identification project has reached a satisfactory degree of completion only recently has precluded the consideration of such an operation in the past.

89. For the purpose of this report, however^ the Office considered that an approximate estimate of the value of the immovable property of Arab refugees could be obtained by an examination of the statistics of the Mandatory Administration. The relevant statistics are contained in "Village Statistics 1945" which inter alia show the population of each village. The figures of population are estimates but are considered to be reliable. These were compared with the Israeli statistics which are contained in the Israel Government Year Book 1950 where the population in each village with some exceptions is given for the year 1989 and 1949, the latter being based on a poll of each village. In that Year Book each village is also categorized to indicate whether it is an Arab village or not.

90. As a first step the "Arab villages" from the Israel Year Book were listed. The population figures for each obtained from the "Village Statistics" were adjusted to allow for natural, increase to arrive at the hypothetical population which would normally have been expected in 1949. A comparison between the Israeli figures of population and the adjusted Mandatory figures for each village then afforded a guide to the estimated degree of abandonment in each village by the population.

91. An explanation of the list of villages showed that they fell broadly within three groups:
1. Villages in the Galilee area.
2. Villages in the Tulkarm area.
3. Isolated villages elsewhere

A further examination revealed that the villages within each group again fell into different categories as follows:

In these cases the whole of the value attributable to them was excluded.

92. The Arab owned land area falling within the villages or parts of villages whose value is excluded amounts to approximately 1,012,000 dunums excluding Beersheba Sub-district and the details by sub-district are shown in Appendix E.

93. A somewhat different problem is presented when an attempt is made to estimate the degree to which the urban areas were abandoned. In the case of three towns the 1949 figures of Arab population can be estimated from information given in the Israeli Year Book. For the rest, estimates of Arab population wore made from information gained from a variety of sources which may be considered as a guide. Similar calculations to those in the village areas were then made to obtain the value to be excluded from the overall valuation.

94. The total Arab population given in the Israeli Year Book plus the Office estimation of the Arab population in the urban areas, and villages for which no figures are given and the remaining Bedouin population came to 153,000 approximately.

95. It is emphasized that the values can only be regarded as approximate and the following factors would influence their accuracy:

96. The final stage of the work under the present terms of reference, that is, to ascribe a property value to each Arab refugee holding, remains to be carried out. The work will consist of applying a value to each individual parcel of land and calculating the share of each individual owner. This stage of the work is one of considerable magnitude as will be appreciated from the numbers of basic forms (RP/1) which have resulted from the identification project.


APPENDIX A/2




SCHEDULE OF THE AREAS OF VACANT SITES AND TOTAL N.A.V. OF BUILDINGS
BEING ARAB-OWNED PROPERTY IN URBAN AREAS

Urban Area
Total Area
(Vacant Sites)
(Metric Dunum)
Total N.A.V.
(Buildings)
LP
Last Quinquennial
Tax Assessment made
for Tax Year
ACRE
636
37428
1947/8
BEISAN
222
13588
1944/5
'AFULA
4
-
1948/9
NAZARETH
2387
38436
1946/7
SAFAD
573
13596
1946/7
TIBERIUS
308
17314
1945/6
HAIFA
4895
540527
1947/8
SHAFA AMR
1064
5091
1944/5
NATANYA
47
-
1946/7
JERUSALEM
4976
349393
1944/5
BAT YAM
3
-
1944/5
HOLON
198
14
1944/5
JAFFA
6855
401808
1944/5
RAMAT GAN
71
-
1945/6
TEL AVIV
1078
4032
1944/5
LYDDA
2349
26302
1944/5
BAMLE
1944/5
MAJDAL
823
20178
1946/9
BEERSHEBA
1946/7
NOTE: In the case of Ramie and Beersheba identification of ownership is not complete and the statistical data is not available (See Report Para. 15)

APPENDIX B/1


SCHEDULE OF URBAN AREAS CONTAINING ARAB OWNED PROPERTY

APPENDIX B/2




SCHEDULE OF RANGE OF VALUES FOR VACANT SITES AND RANGE
OF MULTIPLIERS FOR BUILDINGS IN URBAN AREAS

TOWN
RANGE OF VALUES (per sq.metre)
RANGE OF MULTIPLIERS (applied to each LP 1 of N.A.V.)
Vacant Sites
Buildings
"High""Low""High""Low"
LPIP
ACRE3.000.05030.60016.700
BEISAN1.000.02040.00025.000
NAZARETH1.250'.04060.60016.700
SAFAD5.4OO.05171.30035.000
TIBERIAS4.000.10037.40016.700
HAIFA48.000.10036.00015.000
SAFFR AMR.200.03060.60022.100
JERUSALEM45.000.15047.70016.800
JAFFA.850.20035.00010.700
LYDDA2.375.05063.20025.000
*RAMLE----
MAJDAL2.000.04036.90030.000
*BEERSHEBA----
X
X
X
X
X
'AFULA
NATANYA
BAT YAM
HOLON
RAMAT GAN
1.250.200No Arab owned buildings
XTEL AVIV10.500.90063.600

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