Poor Date Harvest in Gaza Blamed on…The Actual Culprit, Not Israel

Photo for illustration purposes only

China’s Xinhua news reports on problems arising with date harvest season in Gaza.

And, surprisingly, Israel is not blamed, just climate change.

A much-needed harvest has not arrived for date palms in the Gaza Strip through September, which local farmers said is another evidence of the tangible impact that climate change has on their livelihood, following the poor pollination in spring.

Ahmed Baraka, a 70-year-old farmer from Dir al-Balah in central Gaza, said about 40 percent of his 300 date palms did not bear fruit this season.

“This harvest season is the worst in decades … the climate change contributed greatly to the failure of pollinating palm trees,” the father-of-six told Xinhua.

Considering this year’s delayed harvest season, farmers worried that if it ends in time in mid-October, the gross yields of this sweet household fruit could be bleak.

In Gaza, Baraka said, palm trees are usually pollinated in early spring when the weather gets warmer and not rainy, but this year the winter cold wave had extended well into March and April, resulting in a much shorter pollinating period.

“Because of this, I am afraid I will have heavy financial losses instead of profits,” the elderly man complained, expressing his fear of not being able to pay the salaries of his 30 workers.

“Normally, the coastal enclave produced about 15,000 tons of date, while this year it will not exceed 10,000 tons,” Adham al-Bassiouni, spokesman for the Hamas-run agriculture ministry, told Xinhua.

In Gaza, there are about 12,000 dunams (about 1200 hectares) of agricultural land growing palm trees, about 8,500 dunams of which are fruitful, and the rest are unproductive, according to the Hamas-run agriculture ministry.

Wind and insects are the natural pollinators of palms, and their activities may vary according to broader climatic patterns. Al-Bassiouni said when the natural environment becomes unfavorable, proper human intervention is crucial for the entire pollinating and seeding process.

Bear in mind, we have recently been accused of being behind a decline on bee populations in Gaza, as well as destroying the taste of Gazan guavas, which are more likely caused by the same climate change at play here.

By the way, here is something else in the report that flies in the face of “everyone in Gaza is poor” and “no goods are allowed into Gaza” false narratives:

What makes matters worse, according to Baraka, is that the Gazan products are increasingly hard to compete with imported dates on the local market..


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media