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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Israel demographic issues: Census finds 3.76 Million Palestinians

Preliminary results of the Palestinian census indicate that there are 3.76 million Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. 2.345 million live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and
1.416 million in Gaza. About 208,000 Palestinian Arabs live in east Jerusalem according to the census figures, though Palestinians claim that the numbers may be too low and that many houses were not visited. East Jerusalem Arabs are also counted in the Israeli census.
The census results certainly do not support the idea that Israel is committing "genocide" against the Palestinian Arabs, as is argued by anti-Zionists, nor do they provide evidence of any ongoing "humanitarian crisis." There are more Palestinian Arabs in the territories than there ever were in recorded history, and together with the 1.4 million Arab citizens of Israel, they number about five million. Palestinian Arabs have one of the highest population growth rates in the world. The previous census counted 2.89 million Palestinian Arabs a decode ago. This growth is hardly indicative of a serious "humanitarian crisis."
These results also do not support the thesis of the AIDRG group who argued that there were a million less Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank than indicated by official figures (see Two State Solution). AIDRG had argued that the estimates and extrapolations were inaccurate and did not take into account substantial migration and lowered Arab Palestinian birthrates, as well as double counting of Jerusalem Arabs. 
The argument was used to claim that there is no demographic imperative for Israeli withdrawal from the territories held since the Six Day War.  Excluding East Jerusalem Arabs, there are 3.55 million Arab Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, rather than the less than 2.5 million that AIDRG estimated, and the figure of 2.345 million in the West Bank is much closer to the official estimate of 2.38 million than it is to the AIDRG estimate of 1.35 million. As there are now about 5 million Arabs and 5.5 million Jews in total between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, there is every indication that a single state would soon have an Arab majority. In any case, there is no realistic possibility of maintaining Israel as a national home of the Jewish people if even a very large minority object and insist that they have a different national allegiance.
Ami Isseroff


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