Ehud Barak’s 2 Million Person Demographics Gap

Israel National News is reporting that recent statements concerning a “demographic threat” by defense minister Ehud Barak amount to “a dramatic error of a two million person gap.”

The IRIS blog has placed numerous posts through the years pointing to the glaring gaps between independent demographics studies and Israeli/PA census statistics. See: Jewish Demographic Momentum, Palestinian Demographic Dud Decelerates and Israel’s Demographic Situation Continues to Improve.

The key point behind all the numbers is that the Arab birthrate in the land of Israel and elsewhere has plummeted since 1967 due to the introduction of western sanitation and health care; it is now almost the same as the Jewish birthrate.

The Israel National News report states:

Labor party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier this month stated inflated figures on the number of Arabs in Israel in order to reach a conclusion that failure to reach a two-state solution would create “Apartheid,” according to defense industry official Chaim Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said that Barak’s figures of six million Arabs living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea artificially add two milion Arabs to the population figures.

Rosenberg is the head of Long-Term Planning at RAFAEL (Israel Defense Ministry’s Armament Development Authority). He wrote that a study published as recently as last year by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies concluded that there are only four million Arabs, distributed almost equally between Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and the rest of Israel…

The “demographic threat” is actually non-existent when compared with the census in 1948, when the Jewish State was re-established, the defense industry official stated. Rosenberg pointed out that Jews comprised only one-third of the population between the Jordan and the Mediterranean at that time. The “defiance of odds was responsible for the 1948 establishment of the Jewish State,” Rosenberg reminded readers.

“In 2010, there is a solid 67 percent Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel and Judea and Samaria” he added. “However, some Israeli politicians employ toxic demographic assets. They inflate the number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria in order to scare the Jewish State into a retreat from a most critical area, historically and security-wise.

“Current demographics bode well for the Jewish majority, which is expected to grow during the next 20 years…, while Arab/Muslim fertility throughout the Middle East has declined sharply. In addition, the Arab minority has experienced an accelerated net-emigration of 580,000 from Judea and Samaria since 1967.

Rosenberg and IRIS are not the first to cite huge gaps in census data used by the Israeli government in demographics analysis. Other similar reports appear here, here and here. News commentator Caroline Glick also provided this jaw-dropping piece on the delusion of Israeli government census data in January, 2007:

The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) presented a plan for Israel’s future called “The Fourth Way.”…

Since 1997, Israel’s leaders have based their policies towards the Palestinians on what was perceived as a madly ticking Palestinian demographic time bomb. The public was told that the Palestinian population in Jerusalem, Gaza, Judea and Samaria was rapidly expanding and that by 2015, Jews would lose our majority west of the Jordan River. If we didn’t hurry up and hand over Judea, Samaria and Gaza and partition Jerusalem, we would find ourselves forced to choose between a Jewish state and a democratic one.

The AIDRG took it upon itself to do what no Israeli governmental body had considered doing: It… started counting heads. It worked out that the doomsday scenario was based on a massive fabrication. In 1997, the PA published census figures that exaggerated its population figures in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem by nearly 50 percent. The PA double counted Arab Jerusalemites, included hundreds of thousands of emigrants to its population rolls, asserted mass immigration when in fact there has been net emigration from the PA since 1995. It exaggerated fertility rates and underplayed mortality rates. In all, the PA added approximately 1.4 million people who did not exist to its population rolls.

Rather than 3.8 million Palestinians, the team found there were likely no more, and perhaps less than 2.4 million Palestinians. Jews, who make up an 80 percent majority within sovereign Israel, make up a 59% majority of the population of Israel with Gaza and Judea and Samaria and a 67% majority of the population with Judea and Samaria without Gaza.

To read Glick’s complete report on the gap in Israeli/Pa demographics statistics, click here.

The bottom line: the demographic argument used by the Left to push Israel towards territorial concessions is false. The policy implications of this fact are clear.