I found this grove of immature date palms on the edge of Jericho, Palestine. This is not surprising. Jericho, after all, has been known as the “City of Palms” for centuries (See Deut 34:3 for example). These plants tolerate high temperatures and salty water/soil. They grow tall and produce a fruit that is plump and tasty.
Pliny the Elder waxes eloquently on the date palm. See his comments here.
Irrigation is still required to get these trees started and that’s where the problem lies. According to one source, a Palestinian has access to one-sixth the water of an Israeli and pays between four and ten times the price for it.* Digging new wells is illegal (because of long-term consequences for the land) but is a common practice (and undoubtedly a form of social pushback).
There is economic potential in mass plantings like this, but it is risky business. How risky has yet to be seen.
I’m in Israel-Palestine right now with a group from Chantilly, Virginia. We witnessed a light rain in Jericho. No complaints about that! Temperatures are on the cool side as we circle the region. The winter has started; but so has the season of renewal.
Consider this your invitation to participate in a trip of adventure and renewal. For a complete list of travel opportunities, see our 2019 schedule here. Contact me at email@example.com if interested.