Arab Population in
the West Bank and Gaza
The million-and-a-half person gap
The assumption that Arabs in the West
Bank and Gaza pose a demographic
threat to Israel has to be radically revised. The 2004 Palestinian-Arab
population was closer to 2.4 million than to the 3.8 million reported
by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials. These findings should have a
significant impact on politicians, policy makers and international aid
The million-and-a-half person gap
occurred because the PA numbers are
based on Palestine Bureau of Statistics (PBS) 1997 projections, not on
actual population counts. The PBS used the PA’s official 1997 census as
a base population and assumed the population would grow at 4 to 5% a
year, one of the highest growth rates in the world. PA Ministry of
Health birth data and actual border entry/exit data, confirm that the
PBS expectations were not met in any year between 1997 and 2004. There
were dramatically fewer births and lower fertility rates, and instead
of immigration, the West Bank and Gaza experienced a steady net
emigration. When the PBS incorrect assumptions are applied over many
years, the error in population forecast compounds exponentially.
- Fewer births: PA Ministry of
Health birth reports were substantially lower than the number predicted
by the PBS.
Fertility Rates: Palestinian fertility rates declined from the mid-90’s
through 2003, according to PA Ministry of Health, consistent with the
trend occurring in other Middle Eastern Arab societies.
Emigration: Instead of the large immigration originally projected by
the PA, the West BAnk and Gaza experienced a steady net emigration
averaging 10,000 a year.
- Double Counting: 210,000 Jerusalem
Arabs who are already counted in Israel’s population survey were
included in the PA survey.
of non-residents: Palestinians with IDs living abroad for over one year
were included in the PA Census & Projection.
- Internal migration: 150,000 PA
Arabs who have legally relocated to Israel since 1993 are still counted
by the PA.
- Retrospective Alterations of
Recorded Birth data.
The PA's Central Election Commission
press release of October 14 2004
acknowledged that the number of eligible voters living in the West Bank
and Gaza was only 1.3 million.
The resident population in January
2004 was 2.4 million: 1.35 million
in the West Bank and 1.07 million in Gaza in January 2004.
The claim that Jews will become a
minority in the region are
incorrect. Since 1967, Jews have maintained their 60% majority in
Israel, West Bank and Gaza and since 1990, the Jewish population has
grown by 2.5% a year, only a slight fraction below the growth rate in
the West Bank. The declines in Palestinian Arab growth rates and the
vitality of Jewish growth rates which are the highest among Western
democracies, will preserve this ratio.
The Israeli Arab growth rate of 3.1%
was augmented by the
influx of 150,000 Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli Arab
natural rate of increase remained at 2.1%. Additionally, many observers
have misidentified all non-Jews as "Palestinian Arabs." Many groups,
such as the Druze and non-Jewish immigrants, identify themselves as
Israelis, not as Arabs. Israel is becoming more multicultural not more
West Bank and Gaza - Full Presentation (PowerPoint)
Source: PA Demographics - THE
MILLION-AND-A-HALF PERSON GAP
also published: American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) on Jan 10, 2005
Palestinian Demography – Squandering
US Policy Makers and Taxpayers
- GROSSLY ERRONEOUS DEMOGRAPHIC
ASSUMPTIONS underline US policy on the Palestinian issue, and inflate
US contributions to Palestinian - related international organizations
and to the Palestinian Authority. Shouldn’t US contributions conform
with demographic reality, and be reduced accordingly?!
- 2.5MN PALESTINIANS reside in Gaza
(1.1MN) and Judea & Samaria (1.4MN), and NOT 3.8MN, as contended by
the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The latter is a
1998 PROJECTION, and not a tangible figure. It has been embraced by the
UN, the Department of State and by the CIA WITHOUT SCRUTINY.
- CORROBORATION OF THE 2.5MN figure
was concluded with the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education,
the PA Election Commission and Jordan’s Bureau of Statistics, which
sharply depart from the PCBS projection.
- 325,000 OVERSEAS PALESTINIANS are
included in the projection, according to the PCBS web site, and
according to a March 1998 statement by the PCBS director.
- 210,000 JERUSALEM ARABS, who
benefit from Israel’s social security, are doubly-counted (as Israeli
Arabs by Israel and as West Bankers by the PA).
- 238,000 PALESTINIAN BABIES have
never been born (1997-2003), when comparing the PCBS projection to the
documented births by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (from midwives
to clinics and hospitals deliveries).
- 310,000 DEDUCTION FROM PROJECTION.
Rather than 236,000 projected net positive migration there was an
actual 74,000 net negative migration (1997-2003).
- 105,000 PALESTINIANS received
Israeli ID cards via marriage (since Oslo 1993) and are doubly-counted
(by the PA as well).
- THE 59%:41% JEWISH MAJORITY west
of the Jordan River (including Gaza) is more sustainable in 2004
(systematic decline in Arab population growth) than it was in 1967
(initial rise in Arab population growth). It could be upset by a
significant net positive Palestinian migration, which has not occurred
since the early 1940s.
Source: Straight From The Jerusalem
Cloakroom #185, November 14, 2005
by Yoram Ettinger
This page was produced
Middle Eastern Political
Brooklyn, New York
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