By Refaat M. Loubani
PUBLIC opinion has been led by the Zionist propaganda machine to believe that Palestine was a neglected desolate land without a people in need of a people without a country and that developments and progress were the result of Zionist Initiative. As it will be proven below, this is not true.
The Holy Land, since the Crusader genocide, has been renowned for its olive groves and olive oil industry; and long before Zionist immigration began in 1920, Palestine was known as a citrus exporting country, famous for the Jaffa Orange. It is unknown when the citrus industry was first developed in Palestine but records shows that in 1912 ؟1913, the Arabs had exported 1,608,570 cases of oranges to Europe.
As regards the hill regions, the country is covered with olive orchards, vineyards and other deciduous fruit trees; while the lands in the South were used for the cultivation of grain, and those in the Jordan Valley for the production of vegetables and fruits. Every inch of fertile soil was used to full capacity; and more and more rocky patches were being turned into orchards and groves. In that regards, its worth quoting Ahad Ha'Am, a leading Eastern European Jewish essayist who visited Palestine in 1891 for three months, when he tried to open many Jewish people eyes:
"We abroad are used to believe the Eretz Yisrael is now almost totally desolate, a desert that is not sowed ..... But in truth that is not the case. Throughout the country it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains .... are not cultivated." (Righteous Victims, p. 42)
Is it not ironic that Israel should today claim and take pride in the two principal agricultural industries, citrus and olives, started and developed over the centuries by the Arab victims of Israeli aggression?
Following is a list showing the major crops of Palestine before 1947 and the portion produced by Jews:
The total area planted with citrus before the British mandated terminated was 281,448 dunums, (1 dunum = 1,000 sq. meters) of which 139,728 dunums were owned by the Jews.
The export of oranges was as follows: -
|Period||Orange boxes exported*|
|1908 - 1909||744,463|
|1910 - 1911||869,850|
|1912 - 1913||1,608,570|
|1938 - 1939||16,000,000|
* A box of citrus on average contained 144 oranges.
During the 1944 - 1945, the area of the land planted with olives was 595,405
dunums, of which the Jews owned only 7,000 dunums or less than 1.2%.
In the year 1944 - 1945, the amount of olive produced was 75,341 tons. The number of fruitful olives trees was estimated to be 6,000,000 trees and each tree produces 2 kg. during the draught periods and 12 kg. in the fruitful periods, and an average of 7 kg. per year.
Other agricultural products
The breakdown of the other agricultural production in 1944 is as the following:
Source: Survey of Palestine,
prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations, p. 323-327
* Value in Palestinian Pound
** Non-citrus fruits. Note that Citrus production totaled of 248,274 dunums of which 120,897 dunums were Jewish owned (Supplement to Survey of Palestine, p. 37)
Demographic Makeup & Land Ownership in 1947
At the end of World War I, Palestine was an Arab country similar to other parts of the Arab World. It had a population of
Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslims Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and
59,000 Jews (including many European Jews from the first and second
Aliyah). So the Jewish population of Palestine in 1914 made up under 8% of the
total population (Righteous
Victims, p. 83). It should noted that most Palestinian Jews (Yishuv) at the
time where mostly Hasidic Jews concentrating in and around Jerusalem, Safad, and
Jaffa, and only 12,000 of these Jews lived on the land as farmers.
The number of Jewish colonies in Palestine in 1914 was 47 colonies distributed as follows:
|Region||No. of Zionist Colonies|
|Marj Bin Amir||1|
|Al Ghoar / Beisan Valley||6|
|Northern Galilee & Houleh||5|
|Careml or Haifa||4|
This is against a total number of 21 cities and 949 towns and villages in the Arab area distributed as follows:
|District||No. of Cities||No. of Villages||Total|
As of 1918, Jewish land holdings amounted to 162,500 acres out of a total of 6,674,560 acres which is the total area of Palestine (27,009 Sq. Km.). This is equivalent to 2.4% of the total land area of Palestine. These consisted of holdings partly in the principal towns and partly in 47 Jewish settlements in different parts of the country. When the British mandate was terminated in 1948 and the Jewish state came into existence, Jewish land holdings had increased to only 372,925 acres or 5.6% of the total land area of Palestine of 6,674,560 acres still an insignificant figure to justify the Israeli usurpation of Palestine, click here for a map illustrating Palestine's land ownership per district in 1945. On the other hand, the Jewish population in Palestine jumped to 500,000 out of 1,700,000 (the total population of Palestine in 1948), which is still less than 30% of the total population of the country, click here for a map illustrating Palestine's population distribution per district in 1946.
Land Ownership (acres)