JTA reported today that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics announced findings that the Palestinian and Jewish populations in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank will be even by 2016.
Israeli demographers have long lived in fear of Jews eventually becoming a minority west of the Jordan River. Not everybody is afraid of a demographic timebomb, however. Yoram Ettinger, chairman of special projects at Israel’s Ariel Center for Policy Research, told The Jewish Standard in December that the Palestinian numbers were inaccurate and a Jewish majority was secure.
I e-mailed him the latest report this morning and he sent back an article he had written for the Israeli news site YNet. Here are a couple of excerpts from that piece.
The World Bank documents a substantial erosion of the Palestinian fertility rate and a significant escalation of emigration from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The World Bank documents a 32% gap between the number of first graders per PCBS projections (a 24% increase) and per Palestinian Ministry of Education documentation (8% decrease).
There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal, there is no demographic machete at Israel’s throat, and the demographic tailwind is Jewish, not Arab. Awareness of demographic reality would enhance the security, political, strategic, diplomatic and economic options of Israeli Doves and Hawks alike.
In summation, the current number of Judea & Samaria (West Bank) Arabs is inflated by 53%, and the Jewish-Arab proportion west of the Jordan River – without Gaza – documents a robust Jewish majority of 67%, compared with a 33% and 8% Jewish minority west of the Jordan River in 1947 and in 1900 respectively. The most effective symptom of the transformation – from Arab to Jewish demographic momentum – has been the absolute annual number of Jewish and Arab births within Israel’s “Green Line.” While the number of annual Arab births stabilized at 39,000 during 1995-2008, the number of annual Jewish births catapulted by 45% from 80,400 in 1995 to 117,000 in 2008.