January 14, 2005

PLAYING FOR TIME:

OOPS! Arab ‘demographic bomb’ revealed as dud (Caroline B. Glick , 1/14/05, Jewish World Review)

While terrorism is the outward face of the post-modern aggressor, social psychology is perhaps his greatest weapon. If the target population can be manipulated to view itself as the aggressor, if it can be brought to view its position as untenable, then it will sue for peace and surrender. So it was that Kadoura Fares, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and one of the heads of Fatah who signed Yossi Beilin's Geneva Accords, said in an interview with the pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al-Hayat in October 2003 that the Palestinian aim in signing the accords was to "foment a piercing public and political debate in Israel."

While Hamas has placed its emphasis mainly on the terrorist aspect of the post-modern battlefield, the PLO has placed an equal emphasis on the psychological component of the war. In fact, it could be said in retrospect that the greatest single victory the PLO has scored in its 46-year-old war with Israel was the publication of a single report in 1997. That report, "Demographic Indicators of the Palestinian Territory, 1997-2015," is based on a census carried out by the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 1997. It projects that the Arab population west of the Jordan River will by 2015 outnumber the Jewish population.

These numbers were immediately adopted by such prominent Israeli demographers as the University of Haifa's Arnon Soffer and the Hebrew University's Sergio Della Pergola, who have both warned that by 2020 Jews will make up between 40 and 46 percent of the overall population of Israel and the territories. The Palestinian projections, which place the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip at 3.83 million and the Israeli Arab population at 1.33 million for a total of 5.16 million Arabs west of the Jordan River, put Israel with its 5.24 million Jews at the precipice of demographic parity with the Arabs.

Largely in reaction to these statistics, which were bandied about by everyone from politicians to diplomats to defense officials, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided a year ago to adopt the Labor Party's campaign platform and withdraw the IDF from Gaza and northern Samaria and forcibly remove the Jews living in those areas from their homes. In his interview with Yediot Aharonot in December 2003, which was the curtain raiser for Sharon's announcement of his policy shift later that month, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "Above all hovers the cloud of demographics. It will come down on us not in the end of days, but in just another few years. We are approaching a point where more and more Palestinians will say: 'There is no place for two states between the Jordan and the sea. All we want is the right to vote. The day they get it we will lose everything."

BUT WHAT if the numbers are wrong? [...]

The study, which has been accepted by prominent American demographers Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt and Murray Feshbach, shows that contrary to common wisdom, the Jewish majority west of the Jordan River has remained stable since 1967. In 1967 Jews made up 64.1 percent of the overall population and in 2004 they made up 59.5 percent.


A 5% decline every forty years or so--and demographic numbers don't move that steadily--puts them in a minority by 2090, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 14, 2005 9:14 AM
Comments

A lot can happen in 86 years; And straight line projections are almost always wrong.

Posted by: Brandon at January 14, 2005 11:13 AM
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