[Minority in their homeland, and their numbers rose and fell depending on the kindness or cruelty of the region’s different rulers. In the 1700s and early 1800s, crippling taxes, discrimination, persecution and natural disasters brought the Jewish community to a new low.]
The Jews legally bought the land they developed primarily from absentee landowners. Most of it was uncultivated swampland or sand dunes.
“They (Jews) paid high prices for the land, and in addition, they paid to certain occupants of those lands a considerable amount of money which they were not legally bound to pay.” – Hope Simpson Report – 1930
“Of the total of 418,000 dunums (quarter-acres) acquired by Jews in Palestine [between 1878 and 1914], 58 percent was sold by non-Palestinian [Arab] absentee landlords and 36 percent by Palestinian absentee landlords, for a total of 94 percent.”—Palestinian – American historian Rashid Khalidi
“Arab claims that the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamps and uncultivated when it was bought.” —Peel Commission Report, 1
Through backbreaking labor, the early Jewish pioneers cleared the wastelands and malarial swamps, reforested the hillsides and built towns
“Nobody knows of all the hardships, sickness and wretchedness they [the early Zionists] underwent. No observer from afar can feel what it is like to be without a drop of water for days, to lie for months in cramped tents visited by all sorts of reptiles, or understand what our wives, children, and mothers go through.…No one looking at a completed building realizes the sacrifice put into it.” —Early Zionist account of settling – 1885
“Jewish agricultural colonies…developed the culture of oranges.…They drained swamps. They planted eucalyptus trees. They practiced, with modern methods, all the processes of agriculture.…Every traveler in Palestine… is impressed by…the beautiful stretches of prosperous cultivation about them.”—Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine to the League of Nations, June 1921