The Looming Demographic Catastrophe


Michael L. Wise March 6, 2005


Many supporters of PM Sharon’s Disengagement Plan say that it is a very clever strategy. Evacuate Gaza, complete the Wall to include 5-8% of the West Bank territory and 80% of its Jewish settlement population, and then declare a Palestinian state. Sounds exciting. No more Arabs to worry about and a great opportunity for peace and prosperity. A new Singapore, Hong Kong, Benelux, NAFTA. All Pollyannaish images.


A significant risk associated with any two-state plan with PA sovereignty over the West Bank is being ignored. PA control of any part of the West Bank could result in the arrival of 2-2.5 million Arab ”refugees” over the course of 3-5 years. The right of return of Arab refugees to Palestine is a main point of contention. PM Sharon recently said that Palestinian refugees cannot return to Israel but may return to the new Palestinian State. The PA claims that there are over 9 million Palestinians worldwide. Upon declaration of a Palestinian State, many of those Palestinians who now live in poverty will move to Palestine: 400,000+ from Lebanon, 250,000+ from Syria, 100,000+ from Iraq, 200,000+ from Egypt, 1.5 million+ from Jordan, and 750,000+ from other locations. The opportunity to be resettled in Palestine with enormous global financial and political support will be very attractive and immediately accepted many of those refugees. The EU, UN, US, Russia and others will finance the growth and economic development of Palestine. It is estimated that in the first year, 500,000 to one million Arabs will arrive and fill the hundreds of thousands of available empty rooms and homes on the West Bank. Within 3 years, between 2 and 2.5 million will arrive.


Recent studies ( have confirmed that today the population of the West Bank is at most 1.35 million. When the number of illegal immigrants (for which there are no reliable figures) going from the West Bank to Israel is included the number of Arabs currently living on the West Bank will almost certainly be less than 1.25 million. The ratio of Jews to Arabs in Israel and the West Bank has remained constant since 1967. No demographic threat!


Once a provisional Palestinian State is declared, 500,000 Arabs will be immediately and easily absorbed. As the Arab population in that Palestinian State grows, Israeli Arabs will understand the long-term trends and ultimate Palestinian demographic dominance of the area between the Jordan River and the Sea and they will begin to exert increasing pressure on the Israeli government. Demands for equal rights, rejection of second-class citizenship status, and the wish to be identified with their brothers and cousins living on the other side of the Wall will mount; identification with Palestinian nationalism, flag and anthem will grow. The ongoing infiltration of illegal immigrants into Israel will grow.


A demand that Israel relinquish all territory captured through “military adventurism and aggression” will be heard throughout the world and in UN. The green line will be identified not as an international border but solely as the 1948-1949 armistice line. No formal treaties were ever signed and no Arab entity ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State. No Palestinian Arab entity ever relinquished claims to its part of the 1947 partition plan, or indeed to all of “Palestine”. The international community, especially in light of the long-term claims that Israel forcefully evicted civilians from their homes in 1948, will no longer recognize the acquisition of land through military conquest. Pressures will increase on Israel to cede control of parts of the Galilee and Negev to the Palestinian State.


In the face of massive Arab migration west of the Jordan River, Israeli Jews will recognize the Looming Demographic Catastrophe that they are rapidly become a distinct minority and will begin to leave Israel. Ironically, the first to leave will be the left wing pro-peace supporters who argued so strenuously for physical separation from the Arab population. It will be easy for them to justify abandoning the Zionist enterprise and to seek peaceful and prosperous lives for themselves and their families in other countries. Employment and a wide range of opportunities will be open to this educated and secure elite. As internal Arab restlessness and internal and border violence grows, the remaining Peace-Now members will demand that the PA charter be changed to accept the existence of a Jewish Zionist State. PA officials will scoff at all such requests. Indeed, no Arab group or government has ever recognized the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state in the midst of an Arab Moslem sea and the new demographic circumstances will reinforce that position.


Disputes between the PA and the Jewish State relating to water and other resources, arms, access, employment, borders, and foreign treaties will grow and the resolve of the Jewish State to preserve its existence will weaken. Foreign investment and financial and political support for Israel will dry up.


As things go from bad to worse, Israel will be faced with a decision: capitulation or wage a full-scale war to halt and reverse the unleashed process and the demographic momentum. It is not difficult to guess what the decision will be.


Abu Mazen understands that the military option employed over the past 100 years has failed and will continue to fail. He is clever enough to understand that there are other ways to achieve the long-term objective of destroying the State of Israel. Sharon may unwittingly be playing right into his hands.