An excerpt from a Tom Friedman column this week:
The PowerPoint maps that Israeli military briefers use for Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria today consist of multicolored circles, and inside each are clusters of different armed groups. Israel is like a Petri dish of the new world, with nonstate actors, armed with rockets, dressed as civilians and nested among civilians on four out of its five borders: Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
I understand why all this makes even some moderate Israeli military leaders more wary about any West Bank withdrawal. But the status quo is not neutral. Israel needs to do all it can to avoid turning itself into a kind of forced binational state — with a hostile minority in its belly — by permanently holding onto the West Bank and its 2.5 million Palestinians.
I added this comment:
If indeed the "status quo is not neutral", and if indeed, Mr. Friedman understands "why all this [Islamic terror groups] makes even some moderate Israeli military leaders more wary about any West Bank withdrawal", then why not assume that the staus quo could move one way and not another? That to withdraw would be inviting danger, encouraging terror and ultimately, with more narrow and relatively - given the vast technological advances in weaponery since 1967 - indefensible borders, would prove to be silly and, if Friedman insist on this solutiuon, bad advice?
Is this so wonderful?
And that 2.5 million figure?
My friend Yakov Faitelson:
...The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics' demographic data arrived at its data not through objective scientific inquiry but rather by overstating the size of the Arab population residing in the territories administered by the Palestinian Authority...far from doubling, Arab fertility and natural increase are decreasing following the demographic transition rules.
Careful demographic analysis, however, should lead to a conclusion in stark contrast to the demographic time bomb thesis. The natural increase of the Jewish population in Israel—that is, its yearly birth rate less its yearly death rate—stabilized thirty years ago and, since 2002, has even begun to grow. The natural increase of the total Arab population, comprising both Israeli Arabs and the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, continues to descend toward convergence with the Jewish population, probably in the latter half of this century.
The data, moreover, point to rising levels of Arab emigration, particularly among young people...
The misuse of demography has been one of the most prominent, yet unexamined, aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Israelis have so thoroughly absorbed the repeated claims of a diminishing Jewish majority that they do not consider whether their conventional wisdom is false. Before an accurate demographic picture of Israel and the Palestinian territories trickles down to the consciousness of the residents of the region, it must first be understood by Israeli and Palestinian policymakers, academics, and journalists, who need accurate, factual information to do their jobs. The impact on the conflict of such a development would be substantial.
And this from last year. And a previous discussion. According to Yoram Ettinger,
Jews make up 66 percent of the population between the river and the sea. And due to the change in birthrates, this majority is stable. "There is no Arab time bomb, there is a Jewish tailwind," he said.
Friedman's in a spin.
My comment is in.