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Ownership of Capital in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba), British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume II - Page 563. Chapter XIV: Finance: Section 5
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine
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Section 5.


49. There are few countries for which estimates of national wealth have been compiled and, of those countries which have attempted such estimates, few indeed would claim that their estimates are anything more than rough approximations. Palestine must be numbered among those countries which have not attempted to compile estimates of the national wealth. Nevertheless, certain basic information is available and is presented below. The additional problem of separating the relative shares of the two broad groups of the population in the wealth of the country has involved additional difficulties which have been overcome only by the use of methods of approximation which must further widen the margin of error that limits the value of all such estimates. The estimates presented below must therefore be regarded only as rough approximations. They are presented in the form of a series of tables in which the main categories of capital are enumerated and the shares of Jews, Arabs and Others are indicated. In many cases it has been possible to distinguish the share of Jews only while Arabs and all other classes of owners are lumped together. In the main, owners who are neither Arab nor Jewish consist of non-Arab Christians, military and Government authorities and non Palestinian commercial interests operating in the country. The estimates do not include any figures for urban land buildings and improvements, nor for public fixed assets. Allowance must therefore be made for the consequent under-statement in the aggregate.

50. Table 1 shows the foreign assets and liabilities as estimated for 1945. The net balance of foreign assets as shown in this table is divided between the communities in table la. The estimates have been compiled from analyses of Government' accounts, bank records and commercial balance sheets.

51. Table 2, which has been compiled from the records of land taxation, shows the area of land held by Arabs (and other non Jews) and by Jews. In table 2A the rural areas have been valued at pre-war prices based on the categorization of land for fiscal purposes carried out in 1935. These values, although based on values actually ruling pre-war, are completely arbitrary and have been designed to reflect the share of the two groups of the population rather than the aggregate value of the land. The estimate