Mark Twain In Palestine
Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, described it as:
...[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.
Source: Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. London: 1881 (New American Library, 1997).