On the eve of its 61st anniversary, the State of Israel's population numbers about 7,411,000 people, the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed Monday. According to the figures, the State's population is comprised of 5,593,000 Jews (75.5%), 1,498,000 Arabs (20.2%) and 320,000 people belonging to other groups.
But where would I be if I didn’t offer some food for thought on politicization of Palestinian demographics. Mid-East Forum:
In 2005, an American and Israeli demography team headed by Bennett Zimmerman and Yoram Ettinger confirmed the 2003 findings and, again, criticized both the illegitimate inclusion of Arab emigrants from the Palestinian Authority and the double counting of the East Jerusalem Arab population. The Zimmerman and Ettinger study also revealed that, at the end of 2000, the Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip numbered 2,246,000 people—1,280,000 in the West Bank and about 966,000 in the Gaza Strip.Imagine the scope and size of the fraud if international aid levels were determined based on inflationary demographics...oh, my bad, how could I forget, they often are.
According to the data provided by the Palestinian Authority at the end of 2005, in contrast, the population in the territories numbered 3,762,005—2,372,216 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 1,389,789 in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian numbers get even stranger: According to estimates by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2006, the population of the Palestinian Authority jumped to 3,952,354—an increase of 190,349 over the previous year, or more than 5 percent in a single year. Not only is this improbable but, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the rates of natural population growth were half of this: 2.4 percent in 2003, 2.6 percent in 2004, and 2.5 percent in 2005.
In February 2005, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a study conducted by Yousef Ibrahim, a professor of geography and population studies at al-Aqsa University in Gaza, which said that the Arab population would reach 6.3 million in 2010, compared to 5.7 million Jews, provided that the current growth ratios continued along the same pattern, consciously utilizing the words of Israeli demographic expert Sergio DellaPergola, who said that "the direction is quite obvious. Before the end of this decade, Jews will become a minority in the lands that include 'Israel,' West Bank and Gaza Strip." The Atlantic, a widely read American monthly, asked shrilly, "Will Israel Live to 100?"
Then, in December 2006, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a statement asserting that a "population dichotomy at 5.7 million is expected at the end of 2010," i.e., that in 2010 the number of Palestinian would be equal to the number of the Jews, a discrepancy of 600,000 in less than two years.
In February 2008, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic, using data from the Palestinian Authority's December 2007 census, found that the population of the Palestinian Authority reached 3,760,000 people: 1,460,000 in the Gaza Strip and 2,300,000 in the West Bank, including 208,000 in East Jerusalem, an increase of 30 percent from 1997. But, according to these data, the population in East Jerusalem is 2,209 less than it was in 1997. This report provoked harsh criticism from the Palestinian Authority, which demanded that these "distortions" be "corrected." Hatem Abdel Kader, an adviser on Jerusalem affairs to Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, said he did not believe the Jerusalem figures were reliable and that the Palestinian Authority believed that census takers had failed to visit many households.
Once again, by coincidence, the results of the population census for the end of 2007 were almost identical to the estimates of the Palestinian Authority at the end of 2005. What happened to the 192,354 people that existed according to the estimates of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics at the end of 2006? Two answers are possible: During 2007, there was a massive emigration of Arabs from the Palestinian territories, unprecedented since the Six-Day War, and the results were registered in the population census; or this was a crude manipulation of the data and estimates of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, especially the gaps in their data for 2005 and 2006. The latter is more plausible. As Hassan Abu Libdeh, director of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the 1990s, told The New York Times, "In my opinion, [the data] is as important as the intifada. It is a civil intifada." Indeed, such an attitude explains why the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health has erased from their Internet site official reports containing demographic data since 2000, which might contradict the Palestinian leadership's current line.
The 2007 census clearly shows that the yearly growth rate of the Arab population, according to a calculation of the annual geometric mean over the last ten years, should have been 2.66 percent. By extending this 10-year period to fourteen years, and basing calculations on the data of the Israeli census bureau for the population of the Palestinian territories for the end of 1993, the population of these areas should, in fact, stand at 2,646,871—1,113,129 fewer than the 2007 Palestinian census. The difference between the likely actual Palestinian population and the results of the two Palestinian censuses (1997 and 2007) is probably around one million people, just as the Zimmerman and Ettinger study showed four years ago. The major data distortion was made in 1997, and then the overstated population number became the basis for the future estimates.