[OPE] Jimmy Carter: two-state solution necessary, because Arabs breed too fast (Malthusian theory)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Tue Jan 27 2009 - 18:07:19 EST

Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Israel will face a "catastrophe" unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state. In an interview with The Associated Press, he said Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land in the foreseeable future. "If we look toward a one-state solution, which seems to be the trend - I hope not inexorable - it would be a catastrophe for Israel, because there would be only three options in that case," Carter said. One would be to expel large numbers of Palestinians, which he said would amount to "ethnic cleansing." The second would be to deprive the Palestinians of equal voting rights, which he said would amount to "apartheid." The third would be to give the Palestinians equal voting rights, and therefore the majority, he said. "And you would no longer have a Jewish state," Carter said. "The basic decisions would be made by the Palestinians, who would almost very likely vote in a bloc, whereas you would have some sharp divisions among the Israelis, because the Israelis always have different points of view." http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/01/27/news/Mideast-Carter.php

The first two "options" have effectively already happened. But anyway, although Israel's population statistics are often inaccurate or definitionally contestable, let's try some estimates:

The population of Israel is 7.3 million, of which 5.5 million Jews, 1.4 million Arabs, and about 380,000 non-Jewish immigrants and "foreign" workers. There are 4.2 million registered Palestinian refugees of which a million live in Gaza, 700,000 in the West Bank, and 275,000 displaced within Israel itself, leaving 2.2 million living elsewhere.

Birth rate in the West Bank (popn 2.4 million) = 26/1000 ; population growth rate = 2.2% per year
Birth rate in Gaza strip (popn 1.4 million) = 39/1000 ; population growth rate = 3.4% per year
Birth rate for Israel as a whole = 21/1000 (Muslim women average about 3.6 children, Jewish women average about 2.7 children). Population growth rate for Israel = 1.8% per year

The Arab population within Israel grows about 2.5% per year, and the Jewish population (natural rate of increase) grows about 1.7% per year, but in the 1990s, Jewish net population growth was in fact about 3% per year due to high net inward migration, especially from the ex-USSR.

Since about 75% of inhabitants of Israel are Jewish, 20% Arab and 5% other, then one would think that it would take close to half a century before the Arab population would begin to make a real dent, other things being equal. Bear in mind also, that Israeli Arabs die 4 years earlier than Israeli Jews, on average.

Anyway in half a century's time, many things could happen... More Jews could move in, because of e.g. anti-Semitism, or more Jews could move out, because of e.g. unemployment, low real wages, wars and other existential risks. But also, more Palestinian exiles could move back, because conditions improved, or more Palestinians could emigrate because conditions deteriorated. The foreign guestworkers could all be expelled, or large number of non-Jewish guestworkers could be recruited.

So on balance, I think Mr Carter's Malthusian population "time bomb" argument is fairly flimsy really. The underlying argument is even more of concern: it is that the strength of a people's cultural identity depends on the existence of a state to defend it, but what real evidence is there for that idea? The presumption is that as soon as Jews would be a quantitative minority of the population, its cultural identity and power would be threatened (as with the Tibetans and the Chinese) but what justifies that assumption for Israel?


ope mailing list
Received on Tue Jan 27 18:09:44 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Jan 31 2009 - 00:00:03 EST