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Arabs and Jews 'reach numerical parity' in historic Palestine Open in fullscreen

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Arabs and Jews 'reach numerical parity' in historic Palestine

Palestinians may now outnumber Jews in historic Palestine [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 March, 2018

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The number of Arabs between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean now equals or exceeds the number of Jews in historic Palestine, which includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
The total number of Palestinian Arabs living between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea now equals or possibly exceeds the number of Jews in historic Palestine, which includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

The revelations were made on Monday by Uri Mendes, deputy head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli occupation's civil administration in the West Bank.

Mendes was testifying before the Knesset as COGAT staff went on strike.

Citing figures from the Palestinian population registry, the COGAT official told MKs that 5 million Palestinians were residing in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Added to the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the total Arab population could be between 6.5 and 6.8 million.

There are about 6.5 million Jewish citizens living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, according to 2017 Israeli figures.

Demographics are a sensitive topic that carry strong implications for the future character of the State of Israel.

If calls from Israeli establishment to annex the West Bank materialise, the latest figures would mean a Palestinian majority could be ruled by a Jewish minority without equal representation or rights, a de-facto apartheid.

MKs were quick to dispute the numbers, however, claiming the Palestinians exaggerate births and hide death figures.

"The report of five million Palestinians between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is inaccurate, to say the least," said MK Mordechai Yogev of the pro-Jewish settler party Jewish Home.

Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, demanded the Ministry of Defence submit an official number: "I don't remember the Palestinians presenting such a number… If true, it is surprising and concerning. If it is inaccurate, we of course want to know the real number."

MK Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister, wrote on Twitter that it was time Israelis understood the implications of demographic parity.

"If we do not wake up from the delusions of annexation [of the West Bank, as advocated by the Israeli right wing], we will lose the Jewish majority. It's simple."

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