Racist Israel exaggerates ‘threat’ of Palestinian population growth – Middle East Monitor


Racist Israel continues to promote the perceived threat of Palestinian population growth, the so-called “demographic time bomb”. Whenever this question arises, Professor Arnon Soffer – the “Arab counter” – is called upon to comment. Soffer incites against the Palestinians and exaggerates the threat they pose through their natural population growth. He keeps making comparisons between the Palestinian population of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and the territory occupied in 1948 – Israel – and the Jewish population. Each time, he claims that the demographic genius comes out of the bottle.

This is echoed by right-wing Israeli political parties, which cannot help but speak of Palestinian demographic superiority. They mention what they believe to be a political sin on the part of those in Israel who consider the 2.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip to be part of the general population of occupied Palestine.

One of the reasons for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of troops and illegal settlers from Gaza in 2005 was the demographic controversy, which is why the question now arises as to why residents of the territory are included in the statistics. Additionally, the data is distorted by double counting the residents of Jerusalem and not subtracting those who died or moved abroad.

In 2018, a representative of the Israeli Civil Administration told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that the number of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank has gone from one million to three million people since the Oslo Accords. So in 25 years their number has apparently tripled, and yet no demographic survey indicates such an increase.

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Soffer himself predicted in 1987 that Israel would cease to have a Jewish majority by 2000. He based this claim on the fact that the Palestinian birth rate was six children per woman, while the birth rate Jewish was less than three. This was before the mass Jewish immigration from the former Soviet republics. In 2002, he warned that Israel was only 15 years old before its destruction.

However credible these warnings are, their political significance is very clear. They are part of a demographic deception engineered by Israeli politicians and academics, who use statistics as a weapon against Palestinians.

A warning is that in about 60 years there will be a Palestinian majority in Israel. This has led to numerous racist demands, including restrictions on the unification of Palestinian families, with claims that 200,000 Palestinians will enter the occupation state within 10 years, and that their numbers will increase by half a million in 20 years, and 1.5 million in 40 years. .

Warnings are also coming from military and security officials. They say there are a number of threats stemming from what they describe as a demographic revolution in the occupied Palestinian territories, where Jews are now a minority. Questions are posed to Israeli leaders about their readiness to lead the country towards an acceptable strategic goal that can secure its future in light of this demographic “nightmare” that will undermine the Zionist project. According to the Israeli Civil Administration, since 2020 Jews have become a minority – 49% – of the total population west of the Jordan. This may not be fully realized by Israeli citizens who are blind to things that might affect their future.

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This has no effect in real terms on the balance of power in Israel, where Jews are still a large majority, and politicized Israeli statistics claim that 76% of all births in the state are now to Jewish families. , compared to 69% in 1995. However, this is not the case in the occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem. Hence the imposition of a system of apartheid designed to persuade Palestinians to leave their land. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine is ongoing.

Since 2015, the birth rate differential has all but disappeared, with about three births for Jewish and Palestinian women. However, in 2020, it was reported that the fertility rate for Palestinian women had fallen to 2.99.

Population experts cite a number of reasons for the rising Jewish birth rate. These include the security challenge and the reduction in the number of abortions. Additionally, Israel now has a younger Jewish population, while its Palestinian Arab citizens are aging. Successive Israeli governments have targeted younger generations by expanding infrastructure for them to continue the demographic momentum at least until the next generation.

The Israelis apply political and security implications to these statistics, including that if the number of Jews in Israel increases, then its chances of remaining a strategic ally of the United States also increase. When the UN resolution on the partition of Palestine was adopted in 1947, Jews made up 39% of the population. In 2022, they were in the majority at 68%, with 7.5 million Jews, compared to two million Palestinian Arab citizens.

While I don’t trust Israel’s numbers, it faces real and perceived security and military threats, and it firmly believes that the Palestinian demographic “ticking time bomb” is one of them. Jewish demographic superiority drives the state and is essential to maintaining the strategic alliance with the United States.

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The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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