Land Claims

Land claims are a political land mine. Consider:

One thing that makes land claims most intractable is the demand for indirect compensation. People litigate not about what happened to them, but what happened to an ancestor. The more generations pass, the bigger the pool of descendants who can claim injury.

The other thing that makes land claims intractable is war. The Israelis feel the territories they took in war rightfully belong to them. The Palestinians believe the lands still rightfully belong to them. You have two farmers each believing they have title to the same plot of land. Each has a legal document to prove it.

Here is a small idea that might help settle such disputes. We decide that you cannot sue for torts done to an ancestor, only for wrongs to yourself. If you personally did not feel the pain, you have no right to compensation. However, if, for example, somebody bombed your father’s home and you were scheduled to inherit it, you could sue. That would be the general principle in settling land claims. Hopefully, this principle would stop land claims disputes for going on for centuries. If you could get people to agree to that logic, it could take a lot of emotional wind out of the disputes.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)