Whenever Israelis mention the historic fact that the Jews developed the land while the Arabs neglected it, Palestinian and Arab propagandists use that to suggest that the Jews are claming superiority over them, as if we’re saying that we are better. Here they use a hole in Israeli advocacy efforts, which do not introduce the historic reasons for this Arab and Islamic neglect of the holy land during Ottoman times.
The historic background is simple: with our back to the pogroms and persecution of the Diaspora, the forced exile, we had a powerful incentive to develop the land in spite of tremendous difficulties, to gain our freedom and develop the land and our lives. The Arabs on the other hand, where apart of the Ottoman empire, which found neglect useful to keep invaders out, while the block of their forces where engaged in the Balkans.
The neglect created malaria infested swamps along the coast, which kept most invaders out but also depleted much of the population. The small elite of the thinly Arab population didn't wish to change that because they where apart of the empire's elite and had incentives into other directions, such as the empire’s regional centers in Beirut and Damascus; and the capitol itself – Istanbul.