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Land of ProgressPalestine in the Age of Colonial Development, 1905-1948$
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Jacob Norris

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669363.001.0001

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Palestine's ‘Undeveloped Estate’ The Exploitation of the Dead Sea

Palestine's ‘Undeveloped Estate’ The Exploitation of the Dead Sea

(p.139) 4 Palestine's ‘Undeveloped Estate’ The Exploitation of the Dead Sea
Land of Progress

Jacob Norris

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes a detailed look at the creation of a major mineral extraction industry at the Dead Sea during the interwar years that exported potash and bromine all over the world and particularly to British Empire countries. Previously overlooked in the historiography of the British Mandate, here was Palestine’s most lucrative natural asset, construed in imperialist circles as an exciting addition to Britain’s list of ‘colonial estates’. The chapter charts the process by which a concession was granted to Moshe Novomeysky, a Jewish mining engineer from Siberia who embodied British perceptions of Zionist scientific and industrial progress in Palestine. At the same time, the older colonial foundations upon which Dead Sea development was based are also considered. For this reason the analysis jumps back into the nineteenth century and the creation of what is termed a ‘canon of western expertise’, compiled by successive generations of explorers, scientists and colonialists.

Keywords:   Dead Sea, British Empire, colonial development, Palestine, British Mandate, science and colonialism, Zionism

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