We in the West like to talk about the “Arab street.” But for the past decade, the focus, if not the obsession, in Israel has been on the Arab womb — the prospect that Israeli Jews eventually will be overrun due to high Arab birthrates. Palestinians have relied on demographics to demoralize Israelis, while Israeli politicians have relied on them to sell accommodationist policies to their constituents. The demographics in question consisted of Palestinian estimates placing 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, compared to 5.24 million Jews. Coupled with projections based on birith rates, these numbers gave rise to the conventional wisdom that, by 2020, Jews will make up only 40 to 46 percent of the overall population of Israel and the territories.
The problem with this conventional wisdom is that it is based on Palestinian data that now appears to be false and, indeed, fraudulent. As Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post reports, a team of American and Israeli researchers presented a study of the Palestinian population statistics at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The study, which has been accepted by prominent American demographers Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt and Murray Feshbach, shows that the Palestinian estimates overstate the Palestinian population west of the Jordan by about 50 percent. In addition, the Palestinian population growth projections are based on fertility rates that are inconsistent with data from the PA’s own Ministry of Health. In short, the demographic bombshell appears to be a dud.
It is not surprising that the Palestinians would come up with false “we will bury you” type population estimates. The strange thing is that the Israelis accepted their enemies’ data so readily. As Glick puts it, “like bats attracted to the darkness of a cave, we preferred the manipulative lies of the PA to the truth.”
The Palestinians clearly have a birth wish. One wonders whether certain Israelis have something like a death wish.
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