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Jewish rural indebtedness in Palestine before 1948. plus Government Investigations Affecting Agriculture Development In the Negeb in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba), British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume I - Page 368. Chapter IX: Agriculture: Section 6
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine
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even those members of co-operative societies who are still indebted to sources outside their societies are only indebted to the extent of one-half of a year's income.

(2) Jewish rural indebtedness.

144. An investigation into Jewish rural indebtedness was made in December, 1945. The accounts of 105 communal settlements, and of 108 smallholders' villages were tabulated, and inquiries were made of all financial institutions lending money to farmers.

145. It appears certain that no usurious agricultural loans exist.

The Jewish farm is of recent date and numerous institutions of a public character have been formed to afford financial assistance to the agriculturist. Where the settlers have no private resources, the land is rented to them on very easy terms by national organizations; long term advances are obtained from national institutions for the initial outlay on land and building for modernised farming; further loans for stock and equipment are granted by banks and similar bodies; and, finally, seasonal loans for working capital, cultivation and harvesting are obtained from banks, other financial institutions, and the central co-operative marketing societies to which the farmer belongs.

146. The area under cultivation, excluding citrus groves, was estimated at 654,000 dunums in 1945. The income for 1945 was estimated at £P.ll,000,000 and the number of earners 17 ,500, representing a population deriving its livelihood directly from agriculture of 57 ,500 souls (again excluding citrus). Their total indebtedness was £P.9,000,000, or an average of £P.514 per earner, and £P.13.7 per dunum. The indebtedness represents approximately a full year's gross income. In addition the Jewish area under citrus is about 120,000 dunums on which indebtedness amounted to £P.3,300,000 or £P.27.5 per dunum.

Section 6.


147. The Beersheba sub-district, commonly known also as the Negeb, an old Hebrew appellation meaning "the South", comprises nearly one half of the area of Palestine. In relation to its size, it is sparsely populated. It is accordingly natural that the potentialities of this area for development should have been the subject of speculation and special investigation. Moreover, archaeological exploration has given ground for the supposition that a part of the area, in the stations of the Byzantine era and their surroundings,

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