Who Made The Desert Bloom?

In December 1945 and January 1946, the British Mandate authorities carried out an extensive survey of Palestine, in support of the work of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. The results were published in the Survey of Palestine, which has been scanned and made available online by Palestine Remembered

One of the subjects investigated in the Survey of Palestine is land use; specifically, which crops were Palestine’s leading agricultural products at the end of the British Mandate, and whose farms were producing them.

So, according to the Survey of Palestine, who really made the barley fields of Beersheba bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 210,000 tons of grain.

About 193,400 tons of that grain were cultivated on Palestinian farms; about 16,600 tons were cultivated on Jewish farms.

Who made the melon patches of Jaffa bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 143,000 tons of melons.

About 136,000 tons of those melons were cultivated on Palestinian farms; a little over 7,000 tons were cultivated on Jewish farms.

Who made the tobacco fields of Safad bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 1,683 tons of tobacco, on 28,169 dunams of land. Virtually all the land under tobacco cultivation was Palestinian.

Who made the vineyards of Hebron bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 40-50,000 tons of grapes, and between 3-4 million litres of wine. About 86% of the land that produced these products was owned and cultivated by Palestinians.

Who made the olive groves of Tulkarm bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 79,000 tons of olives.

About 78,000 tons of those olives were cultivated on Palestinian farms; a little over 1,000 tons were cultivated on Jewish farms.

Who made the banana groves of Tiberias bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 8,000 tons of bananas.

About 60% of the land that produced these bananas was owned and cultivated by Palestinians.

Who made the vegetable fields of the coastal plain bloom?

The British government survey found that in 1944-45 Palestine’s farmers produced approximately 245,000 tons of vegetables.

About 189,000 tons of those vegetables were cultivated by Palestinian farmers; about 56,000 tons were cultivated by Jewish farmers.

So, on the eve of the partition resolution, in which the United Nations proposed to allocate 55 percent of the land to Jewish Palestine (including those parts that produced most of Palestine’s leading crops, with the sole exception of the olive crop), and 45% to Arab Palestine, Palestinian Arabs were producing:

92% of Palestine’s grain

86% of its grapes

99% of its olives

77 % of its vegetables

95% of its melons

more than 99% of its tobacco

and 60% of its bananas.

Palestine’s agricultural produce at that time had an annual value of approximately 21.8 million pounds sterling; 17.1 million of which was produced by Arab cultivation, and 4.7 million by Jewish cultivation.





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5 responses to “Who Made The Desert Bloom?

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    (AGRI) Israel’s Agricultural Achievements
    Israeli techniques are helping to alleviate hunger and thirst. Despite a water shortage, and sometimes because of it, Israel has attained a long list of international achievements in agriculture, some of which are helping to conserve water all over the world and some which are likely to help find a solution to Third World hunger.

    Top priority: Solutions to the water crisis in Israel and worldwide
    The availability of water on the earth is diminishing, due to many factors including skyrocketing population growth – there were less than two billion people at the beginning of the 20th century and close to eight billion people today and the consuming of much more water per person today than ever before. Israel has for many years been distributing technologies and methodologies throughout the world that support efficient use and conservation of water, ranging from drip irrigation systems to water reclamation and recycling. Today Israel is focusing its main efforts on increasing water resources through the desalination of seawater.

    Invented in Israel: Drip irrigation which helps reduce hunger and save water
    In 1955, Israeli engineer Simcha Blass developed the drip irrigation system.
    Thise method of irrigating through helps reduce world hunger by increasing agricultural yield while saving water.

    Increased number of trees
    The lack of water from natural resources is a permanent reality in Israel, and yet yet Israel is the only country in the world boasting a higher number of trees at the beginning of the 21st century than at the beginning of the 20th century. This is the result of investing in the land and seeking to improve its water economy. By prioritizing agricultural research, Israel has become a world leader in land reclamation and water management and today serves as a mentor for dozens of other nations.

    One cultivated acre of land of land in Israel today yields 30 times more than in other countries
    The following fact is yet more proof of Israel’s high agricultural capabilities: one cultivated acre of land of land in Israel yields up to 30 times more than a acre of land of land in the average agricultural country.
    This could constitute a huge contribution to the problem of hunger afflicting more than half of humanity, and is thanks to over 60 years of continual research.

    Israel is among the world leaders in seed production and fruit and vegetable variety development
     In the mid 1990s, Israeli research institutes, led by Prof. Nahum Keidar and Prof. Haim Rabinowitz, developed a strain of cherry tomato that has gained international success and is sold across the globe. All the tomato varieties developed by Prof. Keidar are now grown in dozens of countries, from Europe to Mexico and from South Africa to Morocco and Iran. The seeds for these varieties are produced exclusively in Israel.
     Melons of the Galia variety were developed at the Volcani Institute and became market leaders in Europe.
     Israeli spices command 60-70% of the European spice market.

     The “Or” variety of citrus fruit, considered every agriculturalist’s dream because of its resilience to disease, easily removed peel and almost total lack of seeds, was developed in Israel at the Volcani Institute and is marketed throughout Europe. The rights were sold and the strain we developed is now grown in Spain and other European countries.
     Israel markets special varieties of daffodils and buttercups to all of Europe.
     Israel has developed many varieties of high-yield grapes for consumption.
     Israel has developed techniques and special strains of fruits that grow out of season and are marketed worldwide, such as strawberries, persimmons and raspberries.

    Israeli discovery: The colour of netting affects the size and quality of crops
    Israeli researchers are credited with discovering that various agricultural crops react differently to the colour of the nets spread over them. The netting is actually a perforated coloured net suspended over agricultural crops for shade purposes. According to the discovery, as different crops grow they respond differently to the colour of the netting. This discovery is currently under intensive development in Europe and is already being implemented in Italy, Spain and France.

    Israeli cows produce the largest amount and highest quality of milk in the world
    Israeli cows have the world record in milk yield. Their average milk output is higher than even Dutch and American cows. What’s more, Israeli cows produce 40% less methane gas than that produced by cows in other nations. The lower emission has environmental significance, as methane gas is considered the principle contributor to global warming.

    Preserving harvested crops without harmful substances
    “Postharvest” is currently the hottest subject in the worldwide agricultural industry. The more the face of world commerce changes, the more it affects the realm of agriculture as well and new and creative solutions are in order. One of the most meaningful changes to take place in recent years is in the transport of crops from one country to another. Once agricultural crops would depart from Israel on airplanes – today the European Union opposes that option due to the high fuel consumption involved, which harms the environment. The need to transport crops by sea mandates developing technologies that preserve the crops for a longer time without harming the consumers who will be eating them later. In Israel, researchers produce high-quality varieties that last for longer and have discovered natural means of preserving fruits and vegetables. These technologies are passed on from Israeli researchers to the global markets, including Europe and the Third World, aiding them in producing more food at lower cost.

    Crop preservation methods are saving the world from hunger
    part of the ongoing work on developing postharvest technologies necessary for long-term crop preservation, Prof. Elazar Flik of the Volcani Institute invented a machine for washing bell peppers at a certain temperature, to preserve them for a month from the moment they are picked until they reach the European consumer sales points.

    These technologies are helping the world fight hunger, and we can take pride in having developed some of the world’s greatest techniques and technologies in this area.

    Israel is teaching the Third World to make the shift to community agriculture
    African countries, wishing to export agricultural products to the world, are seeking successful models to increase their productivity. Since the kibbutzim and moshavim in Israel are a model of community agriculture and of an economic and democratic community which maintains social solidarity, African states view Israel as a successful, inspiring model for developing commercial agricultural communities.
    Israel news portal

  2. That’s a great post, Chris, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with what is contained in the blog or why the blog was posted.

    The information contained in the blog dispels the myth that the Holy land was “land without a people”. It also dispels various other myths including the comical claim that the Holy land only contained 100 trees until the Jews immigrated there and suddenly, as if by a miracle, trees grew and the deserts bloomed.

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    There are many contemporary accounts of travellers in Victorian times noting how few people there were in the Holy Land and how barren it was ( i.e. Murray M’Cheyne/ Mark Twain). The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) put a tax on trees and many were felled as a result. One survey revealed there were only 1,000 trees in the land.
    The first influx of European Jews in the 1880s set the tone for developing the land agriculturally. Jews were to drain the malarial swamps and use the land to grow produce. Their success caused many Arabs from surrounding countries to move to the Holy Land to gain employment. Records show that incoming Jews paid Arab landowners more than was being paid for prime agricultural land in the United States. During the British Mandate more than 100,000 Arabs from neighbouring coutnries flitted to Palestine. There were more Arab farms than Jewish ones in the period that Trevor mentions so it is no surprise that the former produced more food. Trevor may dispute this but the fact is that it was the Jew who began the agricultural and horticultural revolution that confirms BIble prophecy of deserts blossoming. Israel is alo today assisting farmers in the Gaza Strip to make better use of their land.

  4. The numbers suggest otherwise.

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