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Palestinians Mull A Majority

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                          VIEWPOINT
"Exploring The Powerful Issues & Emotions of The Middle East" 
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Editor's Note:

The more one understands the true path to peace in the
Holy Land means one nation where all people bow to G_d
and honor Him is the only way to peace. This also means
one nation. 

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                Video Clip Of The Week

  Are Israeli Interests Controlling US Foreign Policy?	

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Palestinians mull a majority - By Joshua Mitnick

New population data have some Palestinians contemplating
an unorthodox formula for Middle East peace — a single
democratic nation of Arabs and Jews, in which Palestinians
would be the majority.

"If Israel wants to call it Israel from Jordan to the
Mediterranean, I accept it. So we'll be equal to them,"
said Saeb Erekat, a negotiator who has been at the center
of negotiations to set up a Palestinian state in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.

"And with the majority, I will change the name of the 
Knesset to Parliament and the name of Israel to Palestine. 
It's a democracy," Mr. Erekat, a chief negotiator with 
Israel for more than a decade, told The Washington Times. 

New population data show the demographic balance in Israel 
and the Palestinian territories has continued to shift in 
favor of Palestinians over the past decade, giving fresh 
urgency to warnings that the Bush administration's pursuit 
of a peace treaty by the end of this year may be the last 
gasp for a two-state solution. 

According to the preliminary findings of a census conducted 
by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the 
population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip surged by 30 
percent over the past decade to 3.76 million. When 1.4 
million Israeli Arabs are added, the total Palestinian 
population in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip is 
nearly 5.2 million, compared with a Jewish population of 
5.8 million. 

If trends continue, most demographers expect Arabs to 
outnumber Jews within five years. 

The census, the second Palestinian count since getting 
autonomy in the 1990s, was conducted in November and 
December. 

An Israeli demographic researcher said the numbers appeared 
reliable, and even lower than the initial population 
projections of the statistics bureau. 

Hanna Siniora, co-chief executive officer of the Israel-
Palestine Center for Research and Information, said that 
support for a single state is currently limited to 
Palestinian intellectuals. But that could grow depending 
on the outcome of the talks. 

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"The census indicates that there is a demographic issue, 
but the Israeli politicians are blind to it. They're doing 
nothing to resolve it, and time is running out," he said. 
"This is a year that either we make a breakthrough or the 
alternative is binational state." 

Israelis who see their country as a homeland, where Jews 
exercise self-determination, consider that scenario 
untenable. 

What's known in Hebrew as the "demographic problem" has 
created a consensus among the Israeli public of the need 
to create a separate Palestinian state. 

"Basically, what we have here is a society which multiplies 
itself, every twenty years. And that's the problem," said 
Ephraim Sneh, a deputy minister from the Labor Party. 

"The fact that we are not proceeding quick enough to a 
two-state solution, will bring us, God forbid, to a one-
state solution, and that will bring us to the end of the 
Zionism." 

One group of Israeli researchers, who have spent years 
trying to debunk the concept of a Palestinian demographic 
threat, charge that the Palestinian census is riddled with 
mistakes that distorts the true demographic picture. 

Arguing that the 2007 census inflated Palestinian numbers 
by 53 percent, Yoram Ettinger, arrived at the opposite 
conclusion. 

"There is no demographic machete at Israel's throat, and 
the demographic tailwind is Jewish, not Arab," he wrote 
in article published by the Israeli Web site Ynetnews.com. 

A prominent Israeli demographer says that Mr. Ettinger and 
his research team are flat wrong. 

Hebrew University's Sergio Della Pergola said the census 
findings were within his expectations, and even lower 
than the Palestinian forecasts. 

"The pace of population growth there is significantly 
bigger than the population in Israel," he said. 

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