Rural producers in the High Court: the struggle for control of olive oil production in Israel, 1950–1953

Na‘ama Ben Ze’ev, Gal Amir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From 1950 through 1953, Palestinian olive oil producers in Israel struggled against the state’s efforts to impose discriminatory marketing conditions on them. The confrontation took place under the government’s rationing policy and strict supervision of the Palestinian population, which at the time was subject to military rule. A coalition of state agents and public and private institutions cooperated in supervising and utilizing Palestinian oil production. The authors’ aim is to trace the actors in the “oil issue”, their diverse interests, and political motives, in order to contribute to the understanding of the Palestinian experience in Israel at the beginning of the 1950s. They focus their attention on the agency of the Palestinian oil producers, which primarily took the form of resistance. They argue that in the struggle to establish their rights, oil producers often utilized legal and parliamentary means enabled by the state. They were also aware of the gaps and disagreements within the coalition that confronted them, and managed to use them for their own advantage. Thus, they subverted a central idea of Zionist ideology–its claim to entitlement to the land–and they challenged the political ethnocratic practices applied to assert that claim.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalMediterranean Historical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Israel history
  • Palestinian history
  • agricultural history
  • civil rights
  • industrial policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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