by Michael Brown, Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry
The Electronic Intifada, 1 March 2005
The population of Palestinians living in Israel, the Occupied Gaza Strip, Occupied East Jerusalem and rest of the Occupied West Bank combined now exceeds the number of Israeli Jews, a U.S. government report has revealed.
The Palestinian population stands at over 5.3 million while the Jewish population stands at 5.2 million.
The figures come from the U.S. State Department`s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. The report provided population figures for each of these territorial units separately but failed to connect all the dots to arrive at the explosive new demographic reality that an Israeli Jewish minority now rules over a larger number of Palestinians living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The section on Israel and the Occupied Territories states that the population of Israel stands at 6.8 million, of whom 5.2 million are Jews, 1.3 million Arabs and another 290,000 are other minorities. The Arabs who are citizens of Israel are Palestinians who are survivors and descendants of those Palestinians who were not forced out of the country or fled when Israel was created.
In a 28 February telephone conversation, a State Department official confirmed that the figure of 6.8 million Israelis included all the Israeli settlers in the occupied territories.
The report then notes that the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip stands at approximately 1.4 million while in the West Bank it is approximately 2.4 million. There are 237,185 Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli demographers have long predicted that in the next several years, Palestinians would once again become a majority in all of historic Palestine, with the risk that Israel would begin to be viewed as an apartheid state where an empowered minority rules over an effectively disenfranchised majority. According to the U.S. government that day has already arrived.