Israel’s Jews Are Not on Their Way to Becoming a Minority

It is frequently claimed—especially by the Israeli left—that if Israel does not facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Jews will become a minority in their own country. This claim, writes Yoram Ettinger, rests on very shaky grounds:

Israel’s demographic establishment . . . regurgitates the numbers of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) without examination, ignores the dramatic transformation of Jewish and Arab demography, understates Jewish fertility, overstates Arab fertility, . . . overlooks the burgeoning Arab net emigration and Jewish net immigration, and discards the feasibility of significant waves of aliyah (Jewish immigration), which have occurred—[contrary to the predictions] of the demographic establishment—every two decades since the 1930s. . . .

The PCBS records include—in defiance of international regulations—more than 400,000 Arabs (mostly from Judea and Samaria) living abroad for over a year, the 300,000 Arabs of Jerusalem who are included in the Israeli records (hence a double-count), and over 100,000 Palestinians who married Israeli Arabs, received Israeli ID cards, and are also doubly counted. . . .

Moreover, the latest Palestinian census (2007) includes many people with mythological life expectancy, who were born in 1845, 1850, 1860, and so forth.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Aliyah, Demography, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian statehood, Palestinians, West Bank

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood