At the beginning of the Zionist movement, Jewish people did not feel that there was a Palestinian people in front of them: “There is no country called Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term invented by Zionists… Our country has been a part of Syria for centuries. ‘Palestine’ is foreign to us”, confirmed Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi (Syrian Arab leader in the British Peel Commission of 1937). The perception of Palestine as a semi-abandoned territory was not born from the Jews but from European travelers from the XIX Century, maybe imbued by the colonialist spirit although it was also a reflection of reality. The land had been deserted after a long history of wars and conquests and it was a forgotten and poor province of the Ottoman Empire. Mark Twain, who visited the site (1867), wrote: “... [a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse... A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action... We never saw a human being on the whole route... There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country”. The report from the Royal Commission about Palestine describes the coast plateau in 1913: “The road that goes from Northern Gaza was just a summer road suitable for transporting camels and carts… there were no orange groves, you couldn’t see orchards nor vineyards until you arrived at [the Jewish village of] Yavne… the occidental part, facing the sea, was almost a desert… There were few villages in that area and they were barely populated. Many ruins from the villages splashed the region and because of malaria, many of them had been abandoned”.