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Isn't it true that Palestine was destitute until Israelis made its desert bloom?

למאמר בעברית
Posted on November 7, 2001

From the early stages of Zionism to the present, Zionists have propagated the myth that the most important land-bridge in human history (Palestine) has been empty and destitute for two thousand year until it was later developed by the Israeli Jews. As it will be proven below based on British Mandatory statistical books and other sources, this myth about Palestine and its indigenous people was concocted to romanticize the "Jewish return and redemption of the Promised Land". Soon you shall find that was destitute in 1948 still destitute which is a fact that can be easily proven by using Google's Satellite view. Let's get a detailed accounting of the agricultural production in Palestine for the season of 1944-1945, we will directly quote the British Mandate (who prepared two volume books, titled Survey of Palestine, for the United Nations in 1946-7) as follows:




Dunums*** Tons Value* Dunums*** Tons Value* Dunums Tons Value*


4,152,438 193,376 4,403,409 215,191 16,579 497,048 4,367,629 209,955 4,900,457
Vegetables 239,733 189,104 5,113,553 40,207 55,730 1,745,870 279,940 244,834 6,859,423
Fodder 23,970 20,827 156,847 119,578 176,525 951,178 143,543 197,352 1,108,025
Fruits** 355,709 73,320 3,139,374 37,217 21,398 1,379,620 392,926 94,718 4,518,994
Olives 592,546 78,287 3,320,320 7,587 1,182 53,235 600,133 79,469 3,373,555
Melons 120,304 135,634 969,630 5,675 7,193 83,975 125,979 142,827 1,053,605
Total 5,484,700 690,548 17,103,133 425,455 278,607 4,710,926 5,910,150 969,155 21,814,059
Percentage 92.8% 71.25% 78.40% 7.20% 28.75% 21.60% 100% 100% 100%

Source: Survey of Palestine, prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations, p. 323-327
* Value in Palestinian Pound
** Non-citrus fruits. Note Citrus production=248,274 dunums of which 120,897 dunums were Jewish owned (Supplement to Survey of Palestine, p. 37)

*** One Dunum = 1,000 sq. meters.
Click here to view the exact scanned pages from Survey of Palestine that we extracted the data was from.

Let's contemplate the following lands statistics about Palestine (based on CIA's WorldFact Book) before we draw any conclusions.

Land Statistics Value
Total land 26,000.0 sq. km. = 20,000 (Israel) + 6,000 (W. Bank & Gaza Strip)
Arable land 4,420.0 sq. km. = 17% * 26,000 sq. km.
Lands planted by Jews 425.4 sq. km. = 425,455 /1000
Lands planted by Palestinians 5,484.7 sq. km. = 5,484,700 /1000

Boxing Jaffa's famous Orange 1898-1914.

Based on these statistics, it is clear that the indigenous population planted 13 times more than newly immigrated European colonizers, which explains why the majority of them preferred to work in the services and manufacturing industries. It should be emphasized that the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund provided lots of subsidies and incentives (such as free consultation, loans, and attractive long term lease programs) to encourage Jews to "redeem" the land. On the other hand, Palestinian agriculture was profitable and sustainable without any assistance from the local government.

It should be emphasized that Jews owned under 7% of Palestine of which only 44% was used for agricultural purposes by Jews (click here to see the exact scanned page from Survey of Palestine p. 376). In this regards, we ask the reader how could this myth be true if Jews cultivated under 3% of Palestine?

Soon after Nakba, the victorious Jews destroyed most of the usurped Palestinian farms and groves, especially the olive and orange groves that required extensive labor to maintain and harvest. In this regards, it is worth quoting the Israeli Zionist writer Meron Benvenisti who described the Palestinian landscape soon after Nakba as follows:

"The destruction of hundreds of thousands of dunums of fruit-bearing trees does not fit Israel's self-image as a society that knows how to make the desert bloom. And the contention that the green Arab landscape had been destroyed because of necessity of adopting the crops to the agricultural practices of the Jews only underscores the conclusion it was not the war that had caused this devastation, but rather the disappearance of the specific human community. that had shaped the landscape in accordance with its needs and preferences. The destruction of vast areas of orchards did not attract the same degree of interests as had the demolition of the Arab villages, despite the fact that it perhaps had more devastating effect on the landscape." (Sacred Landscape, p. 165) Click here to view a documentary film showing how Israelis uprooted over half a million olive trees in the occupied West Bank.

Let's analyze this concocted myth from another angle by comparing the current Israeli and Lebanese agricultural production. Based CIA's online Worldfact Book, we have collected the following data for year 2006:

Israel Lebanon
Total land 20,330 sq. km. 10,230 sq. km.
Arable land 3,140 sq km = 15.45% * 20,330 sq. km. 1,672 sq. km. = 16.35% * 10,230 sq. km.
Irrigated land 1,940 sq. km. (2003) 1,040 sq. km. (2003)
Population 6.4 million 3.93 million
Total GDP $140.3 billion (2006 est.) $19.89 billion (2006 est.)
Agriculture production $3.64 billion = 2.6% of GDP $1.39 billion = 7% of GDP
Labor force working in agriculture 2.6% of 2.42 million = 62,920 N/A
Sources Profile @ CIA
Israel Project
Profile @ CIA

Jaffa Orange Company, looted by Israeli Jews, click to enlarge
After adjusting Lebanon's statistics to reflect the size difference (in arable land size and demographics) compared to Israel's, Lebanon's agricultural production becomes $2.8 billion, which is little short of Israel's ($3.64 billion). While contemplating these facts, it's also worth noting the following facts about both countries:
  • The great majority of Israel's Jewish population are urban dwellers, who are mostly concentrated in and around the cities of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Haifa; which explains why only 2.6% of the Israeli work force work in agriculture. It may surprise the reader that Israel has the highest rate of urban dwellers of any industrial country, click here for graph illustration.

  • Agriculture in Israel has been always heavily subsidized by the Israeli government, otherwise, Lebanon's agricultural production would have been much larger than 1.39 billion.

  • Israel has been investing billions of dollars, mostly financed by U.S. taxpayers, to divert fresh waters from the Jordan River and Tiberias Lake. On the other hand, Lebanon has no such fortune where all its fresh water makes it to the sea without any effort to retain it.

  • The Lebanese infrastructure was devastated during the 1982-2000 Israeli occupation and its civil war. And if it wasn't for this devastation, Lebanon's agricultural production would have been much larger than $1.39 per year.

In other words, since the Lebanese and Palestinian societies were very similar in many areas, then it's easy to conclude that Palestinians would have produced as much as the Lebanese if it wasn't for their dispossession by the Israelis.

It should be emphasized that even the most zealous of Zionists will find it hard to disprove that Jaffa's citrus plantations were first planted, marketed to Europe, packaged, and harvested by mainly Palestinian Arab companies, click here for the proof. As early as 1891, Ahad Ha'Am (a leading Eastern European Jewish essayist) tried to open many Jewish eyes to the fact that Palestine was not a desolate place, he reported upon visiting Palestine for three months in 1891:

"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)

For the moment, let's assume that the baseless myth is true, the questions that many Palestinians ask are:

  • Even if it was "true" that Jews made Palestine's desert bloom, does that legitimize the outright theft of the Palestinian people's homes, farms, businesses, banks, cars, buses, schools, ... etc.? Does that justify the expulsion of the indigenous population to make way for the newly arrived European Jewish refugees? It should be noted that Palestinians owned and operated over 93% of Palestine's lands as of 1945, click here for a map illustration. In November 1947, the architect of the "transfer solution", Yosef Weitz, stated that the collective DISPOSSESSION of the Palestinian people was an inevitable outcome because of the high rate of land ownership among Palestinians. He stated:

    "[most of the land] not Jewish-owned or even in the category of the state domain whose ownership could be automatically assumed by a successor government. Thus, of 13,500,000 dunums (6,000,000 of which were desert and 7,500,000 dunums of cultivatable land) in the Jewish state according to the Partition plan, only 1,500,000 dunums were Jewish owned." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 182)

  • Could one legitimize the outright theft of the American New Yorkers' homes, cars, banks, schools, ... etc. since American Jews are the ones who converted New York City into the Worlds' financial and industrial metropolis? It's not only that Jewish Americans are the largest minority in New York City, they practically built it from ground up. In other words, if such an argument logically justifies dispossessing and ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people, why isn't it a good argument for collectively dispossessing and ethnically cleansing the American non-Jewish population in New York City?

This baseless myth, although an outright lie, attempts to paint a romantic vision for the "Promised Land" i.e. that it was destitute for 2,000 years until the "returning Jews" made its desert "bloom". It is sad to see how far this myth has been propagated in the Israeli school system and society in order to legitimize the continued collective dispossession of the Palestinian people.

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Thank you for the facts about "Israelis made the desert bloom". I've come across it a lot in my time. I hadn't known it was completely untrue until now and my reaction had always been "So what?! How does that excuse Israel’s conduct?"

Now I'll be able to demonstrate "the desert" wasn't a desert at all.
The very same document, Chapter X Table 4, says: Within recent years artificial pastures, under irrigation, have been successfully established on the Government Farm, Acre, and in a few Jewish settlements. Such pastures, because of their economic and soil ameliorating advantages, are likely to become more widespread in the near future in partial replacement of the green fodders on which stall-fed cattle are now dependent. Without irrigation the natural vegetation dries up in the hot and dry summer months; then most of the Arab-owned stock subsist on the after-harvest stubbles which are supplemented, in the case of working and milch animals, with a little straw and some grain. Flocks of the southern area have frequently to be brought to the north in the summer for survival.
How can you answer to an quotation of 1880 with a survey of 1946? Did you know that the white paper of 1939 restricted jewish purchase of lands and jewish immigration? And at contrary, the arabs recieved cheeply all the rest of the lands? Less than the 20% of palestine is arable and arabs settled at ottoman empire on arable lands. British made everything they could to violated their mandatory and avoid the new jewish state.
Correction on the quote "the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man". This was a quote from an 1897 report done by a few Swiss (i.e. from Basel, Switzerland) Zionist Jewish rabbis visiting Palestine (again in 1897) their report was sent to Zionist Jewish rabbis in Vienna, Austria. So this is the correct context of this quote, wherein even the Zionists noted again that Palestine already had its people (the Palestinian Arabs) again "the bride (my note: Palestine) is beautiful, but she is married to another man (my note: of course the Palestinian Arab population living in their indigenous homeland and nation of Palestine)
Some Austrian Zionist rabbis visiting the land of Palestine in 1897 wrote back in a famous document to there fellow European Zionist Jewish colonialists: "the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man". They had found that Palestine to their dismay was already inhabited by another people. And this has been Zionism's central problem ever since. How to "vanish the Palestinians" and get an empty land?
On demonic Zionist invaders and Amerikkkans: Most of them are one and same, as "Israeli" Jews often have dual Amerikkkan or European citizenship along with their "Israeli" citizenship, having again invaded Palestine from Europe and Amerikkka itself! See Balfour Declaration of the British Empire, AIPAC control of the US government, idiotic Christian Zionist fools in the US and all their support of "Israel", etc.
In response to "Rim", the Zionist colonialist settlers stole agricultural companies from the indigenous Palestinians such as the Jaffa Orange Co. that was a Palestinian Arab company that had been exporting Palestinian citrus produce all over the Middle East (like Egypt and Lebanon) and also crucially to Europe as well (particularly England, France, Italy, and Malta). The Zionists were coming from a colonialist Western environment and had the backing of rich Zionist bankers like the Zionist Rothschild banking family (likely the most prominent Zionist Jewish banking family of Europe). Ironically the Zionist Jewish colonialist settlers (from Europe) also received support from Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany. As the Zionist Federation of Germany (an organization led by leading German Zionist Jews) concluded what was called the Haavara agreement (aka Transfer Agreement, as "Haavara" is the Hebrew word for Transfer) with Hitler's Nazi Germany in 1933. This Haavara Agreement would last from 1933 till 1941 and see the settlement of around 60,000 German Jews (with lots of their assets and support from Nazi German agricultural companies) in Palestine.

As for your imperialist assertion "Rim" about Zionist "Israeli" colonialist settlers (mostly from Amerikkka, Europe, and Russia) these Zionists are like the imperialist Western world (including Amerikkka) which has become rich due to a recent history of committing genocide (against Native Americans in the white European "Amerikkkan" case), slavery (against Africans), colonialism, and modern imperialism. So yes Western imperialist nations are wealthier than "Third World" nations, and the Zionist "Israelis" are demonic spawn of their fellow Western/Amerikkkan imperialist supporters (and most of them are one and them having again invaded Palestine from Europe and Amerikkka itself)! See Balfour Declaration of the British Empire, AIPAC control of the US government, idiotic Christian Zionist fools in the US and all their support of "Israel", etc.
To Rim below,

By no means we claimed that Zionist Jews were not efficient; on the contrary as you have pointed out they are efficient.

This article proves that the Zionists argument: "Jews made the Palestinian deserts bloom" is a myth, it is a lie and as you have pointed out currently Israelis mostly work in hi-tech; so that defeats your argument. They cannot work in hi-tech and work in labor intensive work!

With respect to your argument about Lebanon; your point is irrelevant and its red herring; the article's argument that it proves (with numbers) that Palestine's agriculture production was mostly Palestinian and its Jewish population preferred and still do prefer to work in the services industry (i.e. his-tech as you have pointed out).
If anything, the figures show that while Jews worked 7% of the land, they created more than one-fifth of the agricultural value. Not surprising.

The comparison with Lebanon is ridiculous. Israel's economy is high-tech based. Your account raises the obvious question, why not compare the two nations economies? It is the state of the economy in general that the Zionists refer to as the "blooming of the desert".

Your table shows that Israel has less than twice the population of Lebanon, with an economy 7 TIMES bigger. Just face it, where the economy is concerned, the Jews do something right which the Arabs seem not to be able to copy. Not surprising, then, that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, along with Ultra orthodox Jews (both religious, traditional, resisting change and modernism) are the most heavily dependent population on Israeli governmental support funds.
For steve keep in mind the Zionist "Israelis" had foreign backing from Europe and America: from both Zionist "Christians" and Zionist Jews living in America, England, etc. who had powerful positions. For example from 1933-1941 you had the "Haavara agreement" aka "The Transfer Agreement" (in English spelling). In the Haavara agreement the Zionist Jewish organization in Germany made a deal with the Nazis; wherein German Jews put their money into Nazi German banks and in return Nazi Germany provided them boat transport to emerging Zionist colonies in Palestine and sold them German farming equipment.
My math isn't the greatest but it like like to me that regarding production of vegetables that the Israelis produced 23% while only being 11% of the population. In reality we all are just passing through, the true children of God will spend eternity with Him, what we are experiencing now is just the blinking of an eye.
Again most of the real ardent racist Zionists have know it has been proven that the "barren Palestine" is a lie and myth so they don't even try to use it. These idiotic racist Judeo-Supremacists just evily say they had "right to steal Palestine". They obviously didn't they and all Judeo-Supremaicts like ADL, AIPAC, etc. are in the mold of Naftaly Frenkel, Lazar Kaganovich, and the Jews that led the Atlantic slave trade to America. The Zionist Jews are the most bloodthirsty, hateful, racist people of all of mankind.
Another good article! The myth of a "barren" Palestine that need Jewish settlers to allegedly come and "sow the barren land" is one of silliest and most audacious MYTHS told by Zionist propagandists. It is very clear from pictures, data, and quotes (from that time) you provided from "Righteous Victims" written by a racist Zionist author that Palestine had it's Arab residents who were living well and had homes, fruit groves, fishing industries, etc. This claim by Zionists is silly, many ardent racist, Lazar Kaganovich-like Zionists are abounding it and just saying they had a right to steal Palestine. What racist idiots!