Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Caroline Glick Shrifts Demographics

Here's an excerpt from Caroline's column today:

ISRAEL'S REFUSAL to contend politically with the fact that both Fatah and Hamas are dedicated to its destruction stems mainly from domestic considerations. The most remarked of these is the Israeli fear that in just a matter of years there will be an equal number of Arabs and Jews living in Judea and Samaria and sovereign Israel. The argument that demographic realities will force Israel in a number of years to choose between remaining a Jewish state or remaining a democracy has been the main rationale proffered for Israel's refusal to defeat Palestinian terrorism.

Whether there was ever any logic to the argument may well be doubted. After all, territorial concessions to the Palestinian Authority have not altered the number of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, or the number of Jews and Arabs living west of the Jordan River.

In any event, the demographic argument was rent asunder last January, when a group of Israeli and American researchers conducted a detailed examination of the data upon which the dire forecasts were based. In a study they presented both in Washington and the Knesset and published on the Internet at www.pademographics.com, the team found that Israel had been basing its policies regarding the Palestinians on faked numbers concocted in 1997 by the PA Bureau of Statistics. The Palestinians had managed, by double-counting Arab residents of Jerusalem, counting Palestinians who moved out of the areas, inflating immigration statistics and birth rates and deflating death rates, to artificially add more than one million people to their count.

AT THE Herzliya Conference on Tuesday morning, the team's chief researcher, Bennett Zimmerman, presented its newest findings. Over the past several months, the team has analyzed Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics population forecasts for Israel and Judea and Samaria for 2025. In its new report, the team found that the ICBS ignored the fact that over the past several years, fertility rates among Israeli Jews have been rising and that fertility rates among Arabs in Israel, Judea and Samaria have been decreasing. That is, the ICSB's data do not reflect current population trends.

The team reconfigured the projections for growth among Israeli Jews and Arabs in Israel, Judea and Samaria, based on current rates, and found that most likely, in 2025, inside Israel, Jews will comprise 77 percent of the population (as opposed to 81 percent today); and taken together with Judea and Samaria, Jews will comprise 63 percent of the population as opposed to 67 percent today.

That is, while demography may well be an issue of concern, it will be more than a generation before it produces significant change, if ever. It is questionable whether a set of circumstances will ever exist where Israel would be advised to transfer territory to its terrorist enemies; certainly there is no reason to rush and do so in the face of a demographic "time bomb" whose fuse is so long-burning.

What the actual population data show clearly is that Israel's Jewish majority is secure for at least another generation, and probably well beyond that.

And to think the concessionists have been counting on demographics to roll us back to the borders that couldn't provide us with security in 1967 and surely cannot today after all the improvements in low-level Arab tactical weaponery.

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