An Assessment of Recent Israeli Actions on the Palestinian Agricultural Sector

An Assessment of Recent Israeli Actions on the Palestinian Agricultural Sector

With the ongoing Israeli campaign on the Palestinian society, the Palestinian economy faces a war aimed at destroying and controlling citizens’ capacities. The agricultural sector is the most important sector directly affected. The following is a list of some Israeli practices which have affected the agricultural sector:

1.     The policy of closure and separation between villages and districts.

2.     Uprooting, bulldozing and burning trees.

3.     Frightening and even killing farmers while working on the land.

4.     Scaring herdsmen and limiting their movement.

5.     Destroying agricultural lands and uprooting trees in order to construct military locations at the entrances to Palestinian districts and villages.

6.     Burning agricultural crops and destroying agricultural equipment.

7.     Closing the fishing harbor and limiting the movements of the fishermen.

These practices have led to the following results:

  • Hindering marketing process and reducing the prices of agricultural products.

  • Stopping agricultural projects which aimed to enhance the infrastructure and the production efficiency of the sector.

  • Limiting the provision of agricultural inputs and an increase in their prices.

  • Paralyzing the movement of agricultural laborers.

  • Paralyzing the transfer of the agricultural products, with Israeli lorries only being allowed to transfer goods to the entrances of districts.

  • The owners of shops were unable to provide agricultural materials.

The difficulty in providing the agricultural services has led to a fall in production and the spread of various diseases in both plant and animal production.

The Ministry of Agriculture has formed emergency committees in all districts in order to continue to provide the MOA services under closure.  These committees have worked with institutions on the national level in order to evaluate the losses. This report summarized the various damages exposed to the Palestinian agricultural sector as in the following:  

1- Exports:

The amount of daily exports for fruits and vegetables at this time of year is 450 ton, valued at 250 dollar/ ton

  • The loss from stopping the exports = 450 tons x  $250 x 17days = $1,912,500.

  • After the good were allowed to be transferred by Israeli lorries, the cost of transfer increased by $50/ ton leading to additional costs of $787,500.

In period 11-28/10/2000, 1640 tons should have been exported from Al-Jawafa to Jordan which led to a decrease in ton price by $125.

  • The losses = 1640 x 125= $205,000

  • The loss from citrus exports for the same period = $19,500

Therefore, the total losses from exports = $2,924,500  

2- The reduction in the agricultural products prices in local markets

  • Total daily Palestinian agricultural production= 2450 ton (fruits and vegetables).

  • The local consumption= 2000 tons.

  • Reduction in price= $125/ton

  • The total loss= 2000 tons x $125 x 52 days= $13,000,000  

3- The destruction of trees and agricultural constructions

 The number of trees which were destroyed= 67,773

  • 18,339 Olive trees

  • 588 Palm and olive nursery

  • 8,660 Citrus trees

  • 4,007 Almond trees

  • 9,905 Forest trees

  •  827 Palm trees

  • 2,000 Banana trees

  • 20,895 Grape vines

  • 2,552 Other 

  • The total value of these trees according to its age, quality and productivity= $11,258,795.

  • Losses from destroying agricultural constructions and equipment = $2,857,248.

  • Destroying plastic houses, un-covered vegetable nursery and productive nursery= $1,047,110

  • Total = $15,163,153.


4-1: The reduction of revenues on licenses $120,000

4-2: The loss in income of agricultural transportation workers: $3,000,000. 

5- The increase of feed prices and occasional lack of feed

  • The daily consumption of feed = 1300 ton.

  • The price per ton has increased by $15, thus, the increase in costs = $1,014,000  

6- The loss in animal and honey production

Due to the closure, farmers have reduced the amount of food given to animals and birds leading to a daily loss in their weights; poultry, sheep and cows are particularly affected. The losses are evaluated by taking in to account the following factors.

  • The death of animals and birds due to hunger, sickness and injury.

  • The decrease of productivity due to the lack of feed, veterinary materials and the difficulty in providing veterinary services.

  • Paralyzing the factories of Palestinian feed which located in areas B and C.

      •  Loss in chicken meat= $1,665,826

      •  Loss in egg production= $13,325

      • Loss in sheep and goat meat= $4,631,000

      • Loss in calves and cows meat= $2,912,200

      • Loss in milk production= $253,200

      •  Loss in animal from death/abnormal miscarriage = $303,787

      • Subtotal = $9,802,868


  • There are estimated to be 57,850 beehives. The annual production of 601 tons of honey is valued at $4,606,000 according to the 1998 statistics.

  • Due to the lack of care and lack of protection from harmful insects, the losses are estimated to reach 10% of this total= $460,600

  • Total for this sector= $10,263,468  

Fishing Revenues : As a result of the closure of the fishing harbor, the losses amount to $1,148,000

Other: The deterioration of security conditions and the dangers farmers were exposed to led to difficulties for the farmers in accessing their lands to pick olives.

  • Losses in the olive sector= $12,857,000

  • In addition, there were 27.5 tons of olives stolen and confiscated and 5 tons of grapes valued at $32,500.

The Agricultural Workers: 13% of Palestinian employment is within the agricultural sector. There are 10,000 workers working in the Gaza Strip in picking and transportation in the West Bank.

  • 10,000 workers (who are not working) x 52 days x $12= $6,240,500

  • Income losses from the other districts= 20,000 workers x $15 x 52 days= $15,600,000

TOTAL : In conclusion, the loses until 21/11/2000 due to Israeli actions were: $81,363,121 

Source: Ministry of Agriculture. Report on agricultural losses due to recent Israeli actions. Ramallah (November 22, 2000),   Palestine.

Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Reports