From: Ismail Zayid
To: Halifax Herald  
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:09 AM
Subject: Zionist myths.
March 28, 2006
The Editor;
The Halifax Herald.
Dear Editor:
Mr. Joel Jacobson, in his article: {" An eye-opening, emotional day in Israel" March 27}, states ;" As we drive through northern Galilee, we see the remarkable accomplishments of Israelis. In 1948, the Jews were given a small piece of Middle East land as a homeland. It was mostly dry and barren, more desert than arable." He is, thus,  reproducing the long-discredited Zionist myth that Palestine was desert and the Zionist programme was to "make the desert bloom." In fact, Palestinian agriculture flourished for centuries before Zionist colonization began at the end of the nineteenth century. Accounts of Jewish and other scholars and travellers testify to that.
Ahad Ha'am, a leading Zionist thinker visited Palestine in 1891 and wrote: " We, abroad, have a way of thinking that Palestine today is almost desert, an uncultivated wilderness.......But this is not in fact the case. It is dufficult to find any uncultivated land anywhere in the country." [Am Scheidewage p.86.]. Sir Moses Montefiore, who travelled to Palestine in 1839 to look for agricultural lands to acquire, described the eastern Galilee as covered with "groves of olive trees, I should think more than five hundred years old, vineyards, much pasture, plenty of wells and abundant excellent water; also fig trees, walnuts, almonds, mulberries etc., and rich fields of wheat, barley and lentils." In the area around Djaouna he found "the highest of cultivation....the inhabitants were good farmers and possessed horses, cows, sheep and goats in great abundance." [Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. p.169,175-176.]
The American missionary, William Thompson, visited all the areas of Palestine between 1832 and 1876 and discovered rich agricultural development throughout the land. Outside Bethlehem, he viewed "the greenery of wheat." Approaching Ramallah, he found "vineyards covering the surrounding hills which were filled with figs and olives, while apples, pomegranates and other fruits were abundant,......near Jenin the soil is planted with cucumber, melons and maize,"....towards Acre he crossed "the green expanse of meadows;" in the Galilee, he found "olive groves" [The Land and the book, p.24, 107.166, 251,303]
I think Mr Jacobson and your readers need to study history a little more carefully.
Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, MD