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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER NINETEEN - part 2 of 2 | go to part 1

The water sources are boreholes (some 230), springs (some 300), reservoirs andcisterns. Some 50-60million cubic meters are pumped from the springs, 55 million from boreholes, nine million from the Jordan River, and five million from reservoirs and cisterns. The quantity of water available annually to the Palestinian residents is about 20 percent higher than it was in 1967. The irrigated area came to approximately 100,000 dunums at the beginning of the 1980's. The water available for agriculture was frozen at a level of 90-100 million cubic meters, and according to official development plans, Palestinian water consumption will not expand even by the year 2010. The freeze results from water rationing and high prices for water for agricultural purposes.

By contrast, the amount of water available for Israeli agriculture (mostly in the Jordan Valley, but also in the Etzion bloc and southern Mt. Hebron) will increase by more than 100 percent during the 1980's. In 1990,60 million cubic meters of water will be available to some 30 Israeli agricultural settlements, only one third less than the amount available for 400 Palestinian villages. The planned supplement to the Arab sector is intended for domestic use only, reflecting population growth and increased demand for water per capita. In 1982, the consumption per capita in Arab areas was estimated at 35 cubic meters per mum in towns and 15 cubic meters in the villages. According to forecasts, the consumption per capita per annum will increase gradually to 50 cubic meters in the towns and 25 cubic meters in the villages by 1990, and by 2010, to 60 cubic meters and 35 cubic meters respectively.

The planned level of consumption per capita in the Jewish settlements has been fixed at 90 cubic meters. The estimated rate in western Europe is 83 cubic meters per annum. The price of water in the two sectors also differs, with Jewish consumers benefiting from a high subsidy. The total amount of water planned for allocation to the Arab sector (agriculture and domestic consumption) at the end of the decade is 137 million cubic meters per year (for about one million people) and for the Jewish population, approximately 100 million cubic meters (for about 100,000 people). The water available to the Palestinian population amounts to 6.3 % of the total water resources of western Palestine, or 23% of the water potential of the West Bank (some 600 million cubic meters). According to the water development plan, the relative quantity of water available for Palestinian use will not change.

From the aforementioned data any objective person must conclude that, as water is the lifeblood of agriculture, Israel's policy of water deprivation for the Palestinians and water profligacy for the Jewish settlers constitutes a war crime of premeditated genocide. The amount of planning required to systematically limit and control water resources in the systematically deliberate manner in which the Zionist regime has acted against the Palestinian Arab farmer is proof in itself of the absence of any possible Israeli claim to "exigencies of war." It is simply looting of the most precious resource of any agricultural land - its water supply. Even the Nazis did not do this. They would limit fertilizer availability to farmers from "Untermensch" nations; they would impose limitations on type and quantity of crop an "Untermensch" farmer could grow. But they did not engage in the wholesale theft of his water supply, as the Israeli government has done to the Palestinians.

The agricultural land of the Palestinians has also been stolen, acre by acre, dunum by dunum, hectare by hectare.

In its judgement in the trial of Nazi Gauleiter Arthur Greiser of Occupied Poland, the Allied War Criminals Tribunal stated in a summary way that certain crimes had been committed against the Polish population, including "the illegal creation of an exceptional legal status for the Poles in respect of their rights of property, employment and in respect of the special penal code enforced against them."(26)

Now the theft of agricultural land on the West Bank and Gaza is repeating what took place in occupied Palestine from 1948 to 1967. Under the Zionist regime there are still nearly 20,000 Arab "absentees" living in Israel who have the rights granted to all citizens except for one: to regain their former possessions.(27) The Israelis have committed against them the same offense for which Nazi war criminal Arthur Greiser was hung. The Zionist land grab takes many different forms and utilizes many different techniques - not one with any basis in legality and every one of which constitutes a war crime.

The Israeli land grab of Palestinian property is not only a tactical method for degrading the life of the Palestinian people, it is a strategical method for the goal of removing all non-Jews from the occupied territories.

The late William Zukerman stated this doctrine very clearly in the Jewish Newsletter of July 28,1959:

Israel must become another Ghetto, a one hundred percent Jewish Society as a "Goyim-Rein" as Nationalistic Germany was "Juden-Rein".

The proof of this is in the statements of the Zionist leaders themselves. They themselves convict themselves as war criminals through their own words. As an example, the notorious "Regulation 125" is a tool within the Israeli emergency laws used to grab Palestinian lands.

The intentions behind these laws were clear from the outset. Concerning the emergency laws, in 1962 , Shimon Peres, the current Foreign Minister, remarked that "theuse of Regulation 125, which served to a great extent as the basis of the military regime (in the Arab regions) is the direct continuation of the struggle for Jewish immigration."28 David Ben-Gurion remarked similarly in the Knesset by noting that "the military regime exists for the defence of the right of Jewish settlement everywhere."(29)

Land acquisition continued to be the backbone of Zionist political and economic objectives. The policy served two purposes: it increased the vulnerability of the inhabitants by virtually destroying their established agricultural economy and, consequently, their values and mode of life without presenting them with a better alternative; second, land expropriation facilitated the control of the mobility of the inhabitants, hence their emigration or ghettoization.

The area of land expropriated by the Israeli authorities is not officially published. The International Labor Organization believes that 36.9 percent of the total area of the West Bank went under Israeli administration up to 1983. Another source estimates that by the same year the Israeli authorities exercised direct ownership over 27-28 percent of the West Bank. They gained access to more than half of the lands by applying the Ottoman Land Code (article 103) on uncultivated land or land that was not in the proper land register.30 Taking into consideration that almost one-third of the land was not registered for reasons beyond the control of the owners, the two-thirds left was nevertheless not open for productive or human utility. The land left for the Palestinians was also subjected to a series of restrictive measures which rendered its use less feasible. The amendments to the 1966 Jordanian "Town and Village Planning Law" enabled the authorities to produce their plan for the area surrounding Jerusalem. According to Benvenisti, the ex-deputy mayor of Jerusalem, the objective of the plan was to check future expansion of Arab towns and villages. Benvenisti states "that the combination of land acquisition, closure of areas for military purposes and land use planning, roads, 'and infrastructure developments has already insured complete Israeli control over space in the West Bank."

A recent study by the West Bank Data Project indicates that more than 52% of the land in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is under Israeli control.31 The study indicates that the Israeli government has assumed effective control over more than half of the West Bank and that it has monopolized virtually all the growth potential in the occupied territories for Jewish use. It also maintains that the government has accomplished this through questionable legal tactics. The total area of the West Bank under Israeli control amounted to 2,838,500 dunums, or about 709,625 acres. That is 52% of the West Bank's 5.5 million dunums.

This means the grab of over half of the West Bank's land by Israel to date. The powers of the Military Governors of the West Bank are no less than those which were held by the Israeli Military Governors in Israel. Today, the Zionists claim "security reasons". Of course, the Nazis also claimed "security reasons" in their thirst for Lebensraum.

The powers of the Military Governors are, in short, absolute, being subject to no administrative control of any kind and to no judicial control except the formal right of appeal to the Supreme Court. Even this right is virtually meaningless, since the Military Governor can always invoke the justification of "security reasons" for any decision, however arbitrary, An English writer, himself Jewish, who published a study on the situation of the Arab minority ten years after the establishment of the Israel state, summed up the impotence and frustration experienced by the victims of this comprehensive system of repression when he quoted an Arab from Galilee as saying:

They take our land. Why? For security reasons! They take our jobs. Why? For security reasons! And when we ask them how it happens that we, our lands and our jobs threaten the security of the state, they do not tell us. Why? For security reasons!(32)


If the Palestinian Arab farmer can survive the Israelis' attempts to seize his land, if he can survive their deliberately depriving him of sufficient water resources, if by some miracle he can grow his crop so that it is ready for market, the Israelis thereupon show yet another aspect of their policies for the economic destruction of the Palestinian Arabs.

The Nazis harnessed the agriculture of their captive nations to feed Germany at low cost in the war time situation; they did everything without regard to its effect on the exploited fanners. The same is true of the Zionist occupiers of the Palestinian national patrimony. For example, the once prosperous grape growers of the West Bank and Gaza were purposefully destroyed economically by the Zionist authorities, for the benefit of Israeli grape growers.

As the end of the grape season approaches every year, most of the grapes in the West Bank and Gaza are still on the vine. Farmers are afraid they may have to leave them to rot. West Bank growers are facing economic disaster after the Israeli military banned export of their grapes to Israel and Iraq. Iraq, a major customer for grapes, now takes none. The blow was particularly hard on the economy of the Hebron and Rmallah Districts where most grapes on the West Bank are grown.

The market season opens normally in August. Most growers had general permits to take agricultural goods into Israel. In 198 1, the military authorities withdrew all permits under intense pressure of the Israeli grape farmers who wanted to maintain an artificially high price for their own products. On September 22, 1981, Maariv reported that the Israeli Fruit Council had reappropriated the growers' permit. The explanation was that the appropriation was intended to reduce and prevent "smuggling" of fruit from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel. During summer season farmers and merchants from the West Bank used the growers' permits which was given to them by the military authorities to transport goods into Israeli markets. As a result, Israeli farmers claimed, great surpluses of fruits caused losses of millions of shekels to them. Since then, the Palestinian farmers, especially those of Hebron, have been forced to send their grapes to Jordan, to the Ramallah wine-factory and to the central Nablus area. Prices plummeted, the highest being not more than three Israeli shekels per kilo.

The other major aspect of the occupation's direct impact on agriculture has been in the sphere of circulation. From the earliest days of the occupation, the Israelis have been determined not to allow produce from the occupied territories to compete with or jeopardize markets for its own produce. Hence products which might compete with Israeli goods, particularly fruit and vegetables, have to be consumed locally or exported. In more recent years most exports, including those from the Gaza Strip, go via the Allenby and Damiya bridges across the Jordan to Amman, and thence to the Arab world.

Even this export trade is wholly dependent on the maintenance by the Israelis of the so-called open bridges policy initiated soon after the occupation. As a general rule the bridges have been kept open for goods, but every now and then for political reasons a particular district or town will be "punished" for some supposed misdemeanor or defiance by the closing of the bridges to its people and its product. The result for farmers and landowners is rotting fruit and vegetables and loss of income.

The citrus crops: oranges, grapefruits and lemon, bring the West Bank and Gaza about $25 million annually. For many years the Israelis prevented the exportation of these fruits to Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Europe or their sale in Israel. Most of the fruit was wasted. The Israelis want the citrus fanners to become bankrupt so that they will stop producing citrus fruits and be reduced to a proletariat which will be easier to expel from Palestine in the future.

In 1982 this was the fate of a considerable portion of the Gazacitrus crop destined for export across the bridges. It was held up by the Israelis for so long that consignments were unsalable, resulting in substantial financial losses to major fruit growers, including the mayor of Gaza, Rashad Shawa, who is also an important landowner.

But the restrictions on trade can be imposed at a number of other levels. For instance most of Gaza's citrus (which makes up 70 percent of export income) is destined for Arab countries. Recently a company in Jordan which fronted for the PLO arranged to take a regular supply of oranges at agreed prices - part of an effort to offer forms of economic support to the occupied territories. Unfortunately, in the Arab world large oranges are favored but Gazan oranges now tend to be small, because the trees are old and the Israelis put restrictions on replanting as well as on the expansion of orchards. Hence much of the fruit produced does not suit the requirements of the Arab market. According to a recent report, Gazan fruit grove owners were also refused permission by the Israelis to build their own canning factory to make use of the undersized oranges.(33)

In the territories' markets, Israeli fanners have the advantage of very high levels of subsidy. For example, according to A.R. Husseini, "On the eve of the occupation, we had avery flourishing poultry industry but now it is in bad shape. The problem stems mainly from unfair competition of Israeli products which enjoy a subsidy of 15-30 percent. Moreover, Israeli fanners enjoy a definite credit advantage which facilitates modernization and expansion. A similar situation exists in regard to dairy products, where our dependence on Israeli products is now almost total."

Once flourishing West Bank and Gazan melon and pumpkin cultivation collapsed dramatically after the occupation. This, Husseini says, "has been due to the high cost of labor, low yields and inability to compete with Israeli producers. As a result of all this a great many fanners in the Jenin district suddenly abandoned what had been for a long time a specialty crop."


If the economic destruction of Palestinian agriculture, because of its relationship to the seizure of land, represents the principal strategic goal of the Zionists at present, the destruction of Palestinian industry represents the principal tactical goal, in order to harness the Palestinian economy in a position subordinate to Israel's own.

The Israelis closed Arab banks in the West Bank and Gaza, thereby closing all channels of Palestinian Arab financing for their industry. This made the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza dependent upon Israeli financial credits. The official policy of the Israelis has been to make it extremely difficult to obtain financing for Palestinian industry. Israeli banks have been very reluctant to open letters of credit for any Palestinian wishing to import machinery from abroad. Israeli banks delay making decisions on any applications for letters of credit, and when they finally take a decision, they insist on the Palestinian's immediately paying 20% of the value of the letter of credit, plus 3% as fees. They also insist that the Palestinian pay the total value of the letter of credit before the goods arrive. Moreover, no letter of credit can be opened for a Palestinian without the approval of the Israeli Military Administration. Most of the applications for letters of credit made by Palestinians are rejected by the Israeli Military Administration. In the very few cases when a letter of credit is opened for a Palestinian importer, the bank charges 17% interest. When a Palestinian applies for a loan from an Israeli bank to finance industrial projects, the Israeli bank will give, at most, small amounts of short-term loans, 12 to 18 months, and charge the Palestinian aninterest rate of 17%.

Moreover, it is very difficult for a Palestinian to obtain licenses to establish any industry, because the Israeli authorities do not want the Palestinians to have any industrial base. These difficulties extend also to receiving permits to construct buildings for a factory and for obtaining import licenses for machinery, equipment or raw materials.(34)

Before 1967, fifteen percent of the work-age residents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were working in the industrial sector which contributed eight percent of the gross product in the areas. This undeveloped Palestinian industrial sector consisted of small workshops, each employing five to six workers. The sector, however, had potential and was progressing towards real development of Palestinian national industry.

The Israelis have annexed this sector and converted it into a group of sub-contractors working and producing for Israeli companies. The Palestinian national industry, which lacks capital and protected markets, was not able to compete with Israeli companies.

In the second half of 1980 the Israeli military government initiated a broad move to tax and at the same time to cripple West Bank stone quarrying, one of the oldest industries in the West Bank. In August 1980, the West Bank military authorities decided to use the Value-Added Tax systematically to attack the whole stone-quarrying industry. Again, implicit in the military authorities' decision, was the intention to cripple, economically, Nablus, where the stone-quarrying industry is mainly centered. Additionally, the industry in Nablus is export-oriented with the bulk of the cut stone being transported to Jordan. In the West Bank as a whole there are seventy-five quarries and some 150 cutting and polishing plants. Enforcement of the Value-Added Tax would mean taxing the quarries, taxing the cutting plants and finally taxing the trucks transporting the finished products. Imposition of the tax system would price the entire industry out of the market.

On August 1, 1980, the Israeli military authorities impounded fifteen trucks carrying stone for not paying the Value-Added tax and imposed fines on the truck owner to the amount of 50,000 Israeli pounds. With this action, it was clear to the stone workers, truckers and plant and quarry owners that if these measures were to continue the stone industry would be destroyed. The only option was to strike.

From the end of August until October 31, 1980, both workers and management carried out a strike that completely shut down the industry in protest against the Value-Added tax. The result was not self-inflicted damage to the Palestinian economy, for the strike hit one of the most important Israeli economic sectors: construction. Normally, stone which was not exported was sold to Israeli construction companies. By October, Israeli sources themselves estimated that 80% of all construction projects in the Jerusalem area had come to a standstill. The Israeli military authorities were finally forced to back down on the enforcement of the tax. For the Palestinian workers in the West Bank and the weak Palestinian capitalist sector the end of the strike marked a marginal victory.


For the Israelis the occupied territories form a large market. The Israelis control trade between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and between them and the Arab countries. They control imports from Arab countries through custom quotas and impose taxes on Palestinian products. It is therefore not surprising that Israel has become the main supplier of agricultural and industrial products to the occupied territories.

For example, Israeli exports to the West Bank and Gaza in 1977 were US $448 million compared with $254.6 to the US and $224.2 to Britain, and $275.4 to West Germany. Moreover, Israel imports raw materials and semi-finished products from the West Bank and Gaza at very low prices, exporting finished products at very high prices. In 1977 Israel's surplus trade with the West Bank and Gaza was US $293.1 million. Thus these two areas constitute an unlimited source of profit to the Israeli economy.

The import-export figures tell much of the story: Israel provided 88 percent of the West Bank's imports in 1980 and purchased 60 percent of its exports. In the same year Jordan took 39 percent of West Bank exports and provided less than two percent of its imports. The relative importance of Israel and Jordan as the West Bank's two main trading partners has been moving in favor of Israel since 1967. Ten percent of Israel's total exports now go to the West Bank, which has become a "totally closed and protected outlet" for Israeli consumer goods. The West Bank maintains a negative trade balance and depends on external transfers, mainly remittances from West Bankers working outside, to pay for its import surplus.(35)

For Israel, the occupation of the West Bank has been economically very beneficial, providing a protected market for Israeli goods and a pool of cheap labor. The West Bank is also a source of net gains of foreign exchange, of which the Israeli economy is in great need. Unilateral transfers of Arab funds from Jordan and overseas, legally deposited, amount to at least $150 million a year. Yet the occupation does not constitute a fiscal burden on the Israeli Treasury. On the contrary, Palestinians contribute large sums to Israeli public expenditure. The West Bank is a "closed budgetary system," in that all taxes collected in the region are used for military government activity, the deficit only being made up from the budget of the Israeli Ministry of Defence. The share of Israeli budgetary contribution to the general outlay has fluctuated during the occupation years. In 1983 it was 42%, and in 1984, 33%.

Net transfers, or the net budgetary burden on the Israeli Treasury, is only the balance remaining after income tax, levied on Palestinians employed in Israel, and is deducted from the military government deficit. The net transfers of Israeli government (and therefore the budgetary burden) have not been uniform, but inversely proportional to the increase in the number of Palestinian workers from the territories and their taxable income.


The deliberate, premeditated destruction of the Palestinian economy is shown in the disparity of public consumption and investment figures for the Israelis and for the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1983 per capita public expenditure on the Palestinian population was in a ratio of 1:6.6 compared to Israel (per capita, civilian). If services provided by voluntary organizations (UNRWA, Private Voluntary Organizations, local and foreign) are added to official (military government and local authorities) expenditure, the figures increase by 5096, and the disparity between Israel and the West Bank narrows to 1:4.5. Expenditure per capita on health was 8% of Israel's and on Willful Destruction of the Palestinian Economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip 569 education 12-15% in 1982, In 1983/4 the military government regular budget was $105 million and in 1984/5 some $70 million. The share of local revenues in the budget was 58% in 198314 and increased to 67% in 1984/5. The direct burden of the Israeli government in the upkeep of the military government was therefore $44 million in 1983/4 and $23 million in 1984/5.(36)

There has been no substantial change in the composition of the military government's regular budget: about two thirds being allocated to salaries and 30% to activities. Forty five percent of the budget goes to education, 16% to health, 4.5% to public works and 4.5% to welfare. The number of civil servants has remained fairly stable, growing by about 1,000, from 10.607 in 1976 to 1 1,614 in 1985. Three hundred and twenty five of the military government officials are Israelis: 75% of the Palestinians are employed in education and 13% in health services. Israeli employees are concentrated in the Treasury, Customs, Taxes, Planning and Property (land) Departments. Apparently the administration cannot count on local workers in those areas. The salaries of the Israeli staff are 120% higher than those of the Palestinian staff (1985).

The total academic, post-secondary, professional staff (local) in 1984 came to 380 judges, doctors, social workers and engineers: 862 paramedics and 7,800 teachers. During 198415 604 new employees were recruited, less than half to positions requiring post-secondary education. This very low level of professional staff recruitment reflects the level of services and greatly affects the unemployment rates of academics.

If the situation in public consumption is discouraging, the situation in public investment is graver still. Public investment was 1.8% of local uses in 1981,2.4% in 1982, and 2.8% in 1983. The proportion of public investment in total fixed assets fell from 16% in 1974/5 to 9% in 1977 18. then increased to 12.3% in 1981, 14.6% in 1982 and 18.1% in 1983.

Israeli funding of public investment dropped off from 53% in 1971/2 to 11% in 1980, rising again to 48% in 1983. According to our estimates, total public capital formation between 1968184 (including Palestinian municipalities) reached some $300 or $15-20 million a year. In 1984/5,12% was invested in water works, 10% in electricity, 14.5% in road construction, 4.7% in school buildings, 12% in telephone grids and 9.0% in health. Four million dollars was transferred to local authorities in the form of loans and grants. The development (investment) budget of the military government in 1983 was 19% of the total outlay (regular and investment) and 19.4% in 1984. The development of regional infrastructure in areas beyond the limits of towns and larger villages is particularly low. Public investment in regional infrastructure amounts to no more than a quarter of total public investment, with a smaller part going to economic development.

Foreign aid programs substitute military government investment in fixed assets, but even that is directed mainly toward consumption-oriented projects.

The budgetary policies of the authorities further depress conditions in the Palestinian sector. Ongoing consumption expenditure ought to be higher, especially in human capital formation services (education, health, etc.). In the absence of a central economic planning authority, there is no promotion of capital formation aimed at encouraging growth. The budgetary policies of the Israeli authorities illustrate the deliberate freeze characterizing official policy with regard to the Palestinian productive sector.(37)

Other sectors of the West Bank economy are equally under-nourished. A major problem was created when the West Bank branches of Jordanian banks were closed by Israeli order after the 1967 war, a precondition of reopening being severance of ties with the Central Bank of Jordan. None were willing to do so, and all have remained closed to this day. Branches of several Israeli banks have opened up in the West Bank, but few Palestinians are willing to use them except for small-scale transactions. The Jordanian dinar is accepted as legal tender in the West Bank (though not in East Jerusalem), and since Israeli banks are prohibited from handling dinars, this virtually rules out Arab business. A change in the rules in 1977 to permit holding of foreign-currency accounts has brought the Israeli banks little additional Arab business.

The absence of a modem, comprehensive banking and credit system on the West Bank is a major obstacle to development of any sector of the economy dealing primarily in money. Almost all West Bankers maintain their principal accounts in Amman, which means that capital flows toward the East Bank and is unavailable for investment in the West Bank. The establishment of the Jordanian stock exchange in 1979 in Amman has also made it attractive for West Banks residents to invest excess capital in the market.

The absence of a banking and credit system in the West Bank has forced the West Bank to function largely on cash and a "shadow" banking system through insurance agents and moneychangers who negotiate major transfers. All public sector monetary activity is financed from local income and tax-generated transfers from the Israeli government, plus approved subsidies received through the Jordanian-Palestinian Joint Committee in Amman and foreign philanthropy.

Historically, the landowning mercantile class - the only group with capital to invest - has preferred to invest in land, commerce, and urban real estate rather than in industry, which entails longer term risks. This phenomenon is not unique to either the West Bank or Palestine as a whole. In fact the economic history of the Middle East in this century shows it to be the rule rather than the exception.

In the present circumstances, rational economic calculation as well as predisposition dictate that it is more profitable and safer not to put one's money into a long-term investment like industry. Quite apart from the uncertainties of the future, Israeli restrictions, and competition, there is no local financial structure to provide credit and other services.

All banks in the occupied territories were closed after the occupation, and all attempts to reopen those in the West Bank have failed for a number of reasons. Apart from the Israeli determination to prevent any independent economic structures from developing in the territories, they have specifically refused to recognize that these banks should be under the control of the Central Bank of Jordan.(38)

In Gaza one bank has been allowed to reopen: the Palestine Bank opened in 1981 but at present it can do business only in Israeli shekels and is not permitted to hold foreign currency. The only other banking facilities available are money changers who do not offer credit, and other Israeli banks, which only offer credit at very high interest rates and deal only in Israeli shekels.

Thus, in the occupied territories, what investment there is in industry is effected almost exclusively outside the the banks.(39) According to a study by Abu Kishk, about 90 percent of industrial firms in the West Bank stated that their investment came from their private funds or from a partnership.(40)

In Gaza, industry in the pre-1967 Egyptian period had an even smaller base and share of GDP (4.4% in 1966) than in the West Bank, but unlike the situation in the West Bank, the apparent trend since the occupation has not been decline. Industry now makes up 10.3% of GP and construction 21 percent. Of total local employment, 18 percent is in industry and 7.6 percent in construction. Output in 1969 terms has grown slightly.

Several larger factories have been established since the occupation, but here there has been more Israeli involvement than in the West Bank. In particular, the statistics for Gaza industry do not give an accurate reflection of purely local activity in this sector since they include the Eretz industrial estate on the border of the Strip, where all but two of the factories are now Israeli-owned. These factories are, however, included in the output and production figures for the Gaza Strip. The construction of Israeli settlements near the Eretz estate will mean that, in the future, subcontracts from these Israeli factories will more likely go to workshops in the settlements than to those in the Gaza Strip itself. Apart from this, local production has mostly been on much the same pattern as in the West Bank - food processing, building materials and subcontracting in textiles?(41)

Private capital is not used to any great extent for productive investment. Therefore, the role of public funds - either from domestic sources or from aid - would, on the pattern of other Arab states, be important in promoting development projects. But in the territories the occupation prevents this, for a number of reasons.

First, the Israelis do not wish to allow any Palestinian centers of power to operate freely. Hence there is no overall local authority to ensure that what funds are available are channeled into planned development. The National Guidance Council - an informal coalition formed in the mid- 1970's - has made an effort to do this in particular sectors: for instance, in health and education. But the political climate has not allowed them to make much headway, and many of the leading members, most of whom represent municipalities and professional bodies, are now either in jail, in exile, debarred from public office, or otherwise silenced.

The only formal centers of power, the municipalities, are severely limited in their political and economic scope by the Israelis, who have now dismissed most of the mayors and some councils in the major towns: Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, Gaza, Jenin, and Halhul. Annexed Jerusalem has an Israeli mayor, and there is no form of authority there independent from the Israelis.


Israel's destruction of the present Palestinian Arab economy is compounded by their attempts to prevent its possible development in the future. Israel does everything it can to destroy the Palestinian teaching profession and to limit the educational opportunities, bothqualitatively andquantitalively of Palestinian youth.

Teachers who were employed before 1967 still get their Jordanian salaries as well as salaries from the Israelis. Employees of the Jordanian Ministry of Education make up 72.9 percent of the civil servants still paid by Jordan.

But teachers hired after 1967, now the majority of younger staff, do not get this privilege. Pay has now fallen behind so badly that teachers are sometimes worse off than unskilled workers in Israel. Some take on second jobs to make ends meet. The Israeli journalist Yehuda Litani interviewed several West Bank teachers on their conditions in 198 1. One, who was among the 15 percent who get the Jordanian salary, said he earned IS 2,200 from the military government and the equivalent of IS 1,500 from the Jordanians, after having taught English in a high school for many years. Other teachers said they got much less than this. One teacher of religious studies in a high school said, "Most of us teachers have much lower salaries, which makes us wonder whether the Israeli government means to starve the West Bank teachers until they agree to emigrate to the oil countries where they can earn an average IS 10,000 a month."(42)

In higher education, the West Bank offers some employment opportunities in its three universities and Hebron Polytechnic. Here the difficulties are not so much pay as conditions. In all the universities, but especially in Bir Zeit, frequent disruptions and closures by the authorities make working conditions difficult. Gaza has no secular higher education institutions, attempts to start a university having been vetoed by the Israelis.

In common with most Arab countries, the number of people with middle-level technical qualifications is small, partly for the same reasons as apply elsewhere - that these skills are not much sought after and are accorded low prestige in comparison with even the worst sort of university degree. But in the occupied territories there are further complications. The lack of industry means there is little demand for technical skills, except perhaps those of a metal worker or garage mechanic.


The Zionists, as the data and statistics cited herein have shown, have willfully destroyed the economy of the Palestinian Arabs. The Nazi war criminals were convicted for the same type of infringement of the property rights of individual inhabitants of the German occupied territory. The gist of the matter appears in the words which occur in the Krupp Judgment:

Article 46 (of the Hague Regulations) stipulates that 'private property ... must be respected." However, if, for example, a factory is being taken over in a manner which prevents the rightful owner from using it and depriving him from lawfully exercising his prerogative as owner, it cannot be said that his property is respected under Article 46 as it must be.(43)

The criminal intent of the Nazis was inherent in the Nazi ideology itself, verified by the statements of the Nazi leaders themselves:

In Poland and the Soviet Union these crimes were part of a plan to get rid of whole native populations by expulsion and annihilation, in order that their territory could be used for colonisation by Germans. Hitler had written in "Mein Kampf" on these lines, and the plan was clearly stated by Himmler in July 1942, when he wrote: "It is not our task to Germanise the East in the old sense, that is to teach the people there the German language and the German law, but to see to it that only people of purely Germanic blood live in the East." In August 1942, the policy for the Eastern Territories as laid down by Bormann was summarised by a subordinate of Rosenberg as follows: "The Slavs are to work for us. In so far as we do not need them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory vaccination and Germanic health services are superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable." "It was Himmler again who stated in October, 1943: "What happens to a Russian, a Czech, does not interest me in the slightest. What nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take. If necessary, by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our Kultur, otherwise it is of no interest to me." In Poland the intelligentsia had been marked down for extermination as early as September, 1939, and in May, 1940, the defendant Frank wrote in his diary of "taking advantage of the focusing of world interest on the Western Front, by wholesale liquidation of thousands of Poles, first leading representatives of the Polish intelligentsia." Earlier, Frank had been directed to reduce the "entire Polish economy to absolute minimum necessary for bare existence. The Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire." In January, 1940, he recorded in his diary that "cheap labour must be removed from the General Government by hundreds of thousands. This will hamper the native biological propagation." So successfully did the Germans carry out this policy in Poland that by the endof the warone thirdof the population had been killed, and the whole of the country devastated. It was the same story in occupied areas of the Soviet Union. At the time of the launching of the German attack in June 1941, Rosenberg told his collaborators: 'The object of feeding the German people stands this year without a doubt at the top of the list of Germany's claims on the East, and there the southern territories and the northern Caucasus will have to serve as a balance for the feeding of the German people .... A very extensive evacuation will be necessary, without any doubt, and it is sure that the future will hold very hard years in store for the Russians." Three or four weeks later Hitler discussed with Rosenberg, Goering, Keitel and others his plan for the exploitation of the Soviet population and territory, which included among other things the evacuation of the inhabitants of the Crimea and its settlement by Germans. (44)

The criminal intent of the Zionists is also inherent in the Zionist ideology itself, verified in the statements of the Zionist leaders themselves. There is no better proof than the words of the founder of Zionism. Theodore Herzl:

The private lands in the territories granted to us we must gradually take out of the hands of the owners. The poorer amongst the population we try to transfer quietly outside our borders by providing them with the work in the transit countries, but in our country we deny them all work. Those with property will join us. The transfer of land and displacement of the poor must be done gently and carefully. Let the landowners believe that they are exploiting us by getting overvalued prices. But no lands shall be sold back to their owners.(45)



1. Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals, Nuremberg, 30th September and 1st October, 1946, British Command Paper No. 6964 (London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1946), pp. 54-55.

2. Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980), p. 163.

3. Ibid., p.167

4. Yitshak Oded, "Land Losses Among Israel's Arab Villagers," New Outlook, 1964, p. 14.

5. Zoo Haderech, November 23,1977.

6. Shimon Peres, "The Military Government is the Product of the War Regime," Davar, January 26, 1962.

7. Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State, p. 170.

8. Indictment presented to the International Military Tribunal sitting at Berlin on 18th October, 1945, British Command Paper No. 6696 (London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1945), pp. 22-23.

9. John P. Richardson, The West Bank: A Portrait (The Middle East Institute, 1984), p. 133.

10. Bryan Van Arkadie, Benefits and Burdens: A Report on the West Bank and Gaza Strip Economies Since 1967 (New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1971), pp. 116- 117.

11. Annette Hochstein, Metropolitan Links Between Israel and the West Bank (Jerusalem: West Bank Data Base Project, 1983), p. 41.

12. Ibrahim Dakkak, "Development and Control in the West Bank," Journal of Arab Studies, Fall 1985, pp. 74-76.

13. Ibrahim Dakkak, "Back to Square One," in Palestine Over the Green Line by Alexander Seboleh (London: Ithaca Press, 19831, p. 23.

14. H. Awartani, A Survey of Industry in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Bir Zeit: Bir Zeit University Publications, 1979), pp. 8-10.

15. Arkadie, Benefits and Burdens, p. 32.

16. Indictment presented to the International Military Tribunal sitting at Berlin on 18th October, 1945, p. 29.

17. V, 0. Schwelz, "Population Changes in Judea and Samaria," The Jerusalem Quarterly, No. 4, Summer 1977, pp. 99-100.

18. Hochstein, Metropolitan Links Between Israel and the West Bank, p. 43.

19. Metzger, et al., This Land is Our Land: The West Bank Under Israeli Occupation (London: Zed Press, 1983), p. 132.

20. Benvenisti and Abu Zayyad, The West Bank-Handbook (Jerusalem, 1986), pp. 80-81.

21. H. Awartam, "West Bank Agriculture: A New Outlook," Nablus, Najah University Research Bulletin, No. 1, 1978, p. 7.

22. International Christian Committee for the Relief of Arab Refugees, West Bank Area Council, Self-Help Village Development Programme, 1978 (Jerusalem: Middle East Council of Churches, 1979).

23. H. Awartani, West Bank Agriculture, p. 7.

24. Military Government, Department of Water, Monthly Discharge of Underground Water in Tehuda and Shomron 1977/78.

25. E. Pallis, "Stateless in Gaza," Guardian (London), 26 February, 1982.

26. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, Selected and Prepared by the United Nations War Crimes Commission (London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1949), volume 15, p. 122,

27. Simha Flapan, "Integrating the Arab Village," New Outlook. volume 7, No. 9, 1964, pp. 24-36,

28. Cited in Emmanuel Dror, "The Emergency Regulations," in Arie Bober, ed., The Other Israel (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972), p. 138.

29. Ibid, pp. 138-139.

30. International Labour Office, Report of the Director General 1983, Appendix 111, p. 21.

31. Land Alienation in the West Bank: A Legal and Special Analysis (Jerusalem: West Bank Data Project, 1986).

32. Michael Adams, "Israel's Treatment of the Arabs in the Occupied Territories," Journal of Palestine Studies, volume 6, No. 2, 1982, p. 26. 33. The Economist, 15 May. 1982.

34. Nabil E. Kukali, Facing Industries Problem in Hebron Governorate (An Analytical Study), in Arabic (Hebron: Scientific Research Center, Hebron University, 1987), pp. 39-41.

35. Meron Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israel's Policies (Jerusalem: The West Bank Data Project, 19841, p. 10.

36. "Palestinian Taxes Now Pay for Occupation," Al-Fajr June 21. 1985. 37. "The Economics of Occupation and Israel's Endemic Crisis," The Middle East Focus, August, 1985.

38. A. S. Mansour, "Monetary Dualism: The Case of the West Bank under Occupation," Journal of Palestine Studies Spring, 1982, p. 1 12. 39. Ibid., p. 11 3.

40. Bakr Abu Kishk, Report on the Industrial and Economic Trends in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Ecwa/Unido, August 1981), p. 37.

41. Sheila Ryan, "Israeli Economic Policy in the Occupied Areas," MERIP Reports January, 1974, p. 20. 42. Yehuda Litani, Ha'aretz, 6 February, 1981.

43. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, volume 15, p. 126.

44. Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals, pp. 52-53.

45. Cited in Haim Hanegbi, Moshe Machover and Akiva Orr, "The Class Nature of Israeli Society," New Left Review, January- February, 197 1, pp. 3-26.



Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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