Lebanon: drastic reduction of land belonging to Christians

Lebanon, February 18, 2014


After the proclamation of independence in the Lebanon, 8130 square km of land belonged to the Lebanese Christians. Today, however, Lebanese Christians have about 4,000 km of land. These figures were provided by Talal al-Doueihy, head of the Movement 'Lebanese Land-Our Land Movement' and reported by the The Daily Star newspaper.

The drastic decrease in landed properties belonging to Christians in the country of the Cedars has various causes. Many Christians are emigrating and when they leave they have no choice but to sell their land to Muslims buyers.

In addition, during the years of the government of Rafiq Hariri - Prime Minister from 1992 to 1998 and then from 2000 to 2004, who was killed in a suicide bombing on 14 February 2005 - the law regarding the sale of land which guaranteed the right of first refusal to owners of adjacent lands was canceled. The Hariri government wanted in this way to encourage investments in Lebanon from the Arab Gulf countries. The result is that almost all of the lands sold during those years increased from Christian owners to Muslim owners.

Several legislative proposals have been presented in parliament to try to block the erosion of the land ownership of Christians in Lebanon. One presented by MPs Sami Gemayel and Ibrahim Kanaan aims to regulate the ownership of land property in Lebanese territory by foreign buyers. Another prepared by the Parliamentary Joseph Maalouf aims to curb the change of ownership of plots of land above 3,000 square meters, and to limit the room for maneuver of intermediaries in the sale of land.

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