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Friday, June 03, 2005

 

'It was the Palestinians who made the desert bloom!'

Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948. Washington DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991.

"Contrary to prevailing opionion in the Western world, the Palestinians were responsible for the bulk of agricutural production in the country during the British Mandate. By the end of the Mandate, the total land area under cultivation by Palestinian farmers (excluding citrus) was 5,484, 700 dunams (one dunum=one thousand square meters, and the area cultivated by Jewish farmers was 435,500 dunums.1 With regard to desert cultivation, by 1935 The Palestinians were farming 2,109,234 dunams in the Negev,2 whereas total Jewish landholdings in the Negev in 1946 did not exceed 21,000 dunams. Thus it was the Palestinians who made the desert bloom!" (125)

1. A Survey of Palestine: Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the Information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 2 vols. and supp. (Jerusalem: Government of Palestine, 1946), 1:323.

2. The Area of Cultivable Land in Palestine (Jerusalem Jewish Agency, 1936), p. 13.

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