The main goal of many infiltrators was to rejoin their families. Nearly every village and community was able to implement a limited “right of return” for a few of its members, enlarging the country's Arab population by 15%. The return of more than 20,000 refugees testifies to institutional ambivalence and to the fact that the official Israeli policy of “fewer Arabs on less land” was not always implemented. Arab lands were transferred to state ownership in a variety of ways, which have been documented and analyzed in many studies. The transfer of land to the state or to Zionist agencies was accomplished with the help of Arab collaborators. These people acted, generally consciously, in contradiction of their society's norms and against what Arab nationalists perceived as the supreme interest of the Arabs in Israel—keeping their land. In Israel, mukhtars played an important role in the state's acquisition of land in those areas where land ownership had never been officially registered. Arab farmers struggled against the expropriation of their land as a fight against progress and development.
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