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    Israel s Defeated in the Demographic Battle: An interview with Dr. Yousef Ibrahim The International Press Center (IPC) February 14, 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2005
      Israel's Defeated in the Demographic Battle: An interview with Dr.
      Yousef Ibrahim
      The International Press Center (IPC)
      February 14, 2005

      Dr. Yousef Ibrahim, the professor of Geography and Population
      Studies at Al Aqsa University in Gaza, said that the Jewish
      immigration to Israel, which the Zionist organization labeled
      as 'return', has turned to a weapon to fight the Palestinian people
      with in the demographic battle.

      And as each day passes, the image becomes more clear that the
      Zionist project in historic Palestine is losing grounds to the
      Palestinians on the demographic level.

      Dr. Ibrahim also added, in an interview with IPC, that the
      statistics released by the Israeli Census Bureau showed that 81
      percent of the residents of historic Palestine are Jews, equaling
      5.45 million individuals, including 0.29 million new immigrants who
      were not yet registered at the Ministry of Interior as Jews.

      According to Dr. Ibrahim, the population of Israel grew by 116
      thousand individuals in 2003, which is considered the least growth
      rate in 13 years for Israel, pointing out that the immigration
      budget of 2003 contributed only to an increase of 9 percent, meaning
      23 thousand new immigrants, compared to 34 thousand in 2002. More
      than half of the new immigrants came from former socialist
      countries, while 13 percent arrived from Ethiopia, 8 percent from
      France and 7 percent from the United States.

      Decisive Demographic Point

      The geography and population studies professor further indicated
      that all the demographic expectations point to the fact that Jews
      would become a minority in historic Palestine by the end of the
      current decade, due to the high birthrate among Palestinians,
      referring to the words of Sergio De la Bergola, an Israeli
      demographic expert, who said that "the direction is quite obvious.
      Before the end of this decade Jews will become a minority in the
      lands that include 'Israel', West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Jewish
      population has a slight majority between the Mediterranean and the
      Jordan river."

      The Israeli expert continued as saying that Jews amount to 5.2
      million, while Arabs to 4.9 million, including 1.2 million
      Palestinians living in Israel and 3.7 million Palestinians in the
      West Bank and Gaza, not to mention about 300 thousand non-Jewish
      Israel immigrants who came from the former Soviet Union and about
      150 thousand foreign workers.

      Demographic Imbalance

      According to a demographic study released by the Palestinian Central
      Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Dr. Ibrahim said that the Arab
      population would reach 6.3 million in 2010, compared to 5.7 million
      Jews, provided that the current growth ratios continued along the
      same pattern. There are no exact numbers about the immigration
      outside historic Palestine, because those who settle abroad cannot
      be counted as abroad except after five years.

      However, Israeli newspaper published numbers ranging between 10-15
      thousand immigrations every year since 2000, and the Israeli Prime
      Minister Ariel Sharon has often declared that his goal was to bring
      in a million immigrants within the next ten years.

      "While the Arab population has higher birthrates than the Jewish
      population, whose numbers are bolstering due to the ever-decreasing
      immigration waves. And if the Jews abroad didn't face a catastrophe,
      then there are no indications that this pattern would change," Dr.
      Ibrahim said, pointing out that the official figures said the number
      of immigrants in 2003 was the least since 1989, and was 31 percent
      less than 2002.

      Jewish Agency and Immigration

      About the immigration to historic Palestine, Dr. Ibrahim made clear
      that the Jewish Agency has spread more than 22 thousand immigrants,
      half of them from the former Soviet Union, across the occupied
      Palestinian territories in 2003. The Jewish Rabbinic authority,
      however, does not consider almost half of the Russian immigrants as
      Jews, but rather benefiting from the Israeli 'right to return' by
      being relative to Jews, in order to obtain the Israeli citizenship
      and improve their miserable financial situation by living and
      working in Israel.

      Ebbing Jewish Immigration Waves

      Dr. Ibrahim further explained that the Jewish Agency relate the
      steady decrease in immigration rates to several correlated reasons,
      mainly the decrease of human reservoir in the former Soviet Union,
      due to pas intensive immigration waves to historic Palestine, and
      immigrations to other countries such as Germany.

      Other experts view the decrease in immigration rates as related to
      the deterioration of the security situation in Israel since the
      eruption of Al Aqsa Intifada in September, 2000 and the accompanying
      economic recession, which led to unprecedented high unemployment
      rates. Immigrant numbers from Argentina in particular decreased also
      due to the improvement in the Argentinean economy.

      Sharon and Immigration

      About Sharon and immigration, Dr. Ibrahim viewed that since the
      declaration of an Israeli state in 1948 all Israeli prime ministers
      called -in various degrees of success- on Jews to immigrate to
      Israel and live in it based on biblical claims to the land of
      Palestine, but Sharon went farther than any other prime minister, to
      demanding the Jews of France to immediately immigrate to Israel, as
      well as planning to bring all the Jews of Ethiopia, known
      as "Falasha", who are estimated at 20 thousand Jews, to settle in
      historic Palestine by the end of 2007.

      As of next June, Dr. Ibrahim revealed, the Ethiopian Jews
      immigrating to Israel would be doubled from 300 immigrants every
      month to 600, in addition to instructing the ministries of interior
      and finance in Israel to prepare a full plan of absorbing those Jews
      in Israel within three months, reminding that there were 17 thousand
      Falasha Jews waiting to be allowed to travel to Israel in Ethiopia.

      Falasha Jews: Free Labor

      Dr. Ibrahim pointed out to the huge dispute between Jewish rabbis in
      Israel about whether Ethiopian Jews truly belong to Judaism, as the
      rabbi Rozen Ezra, who is one of the responsible persons of reviewing
      immigration forms, said that 31 percent of the Ethiopian Jews who
      were brought to Israel over the past three years were not Jews at
      all, questioning the standards of rabbis Menachem and Waldmann, who
      approved their immigration forms over the past 20 years.

      Dr. Ibrahim also noted that Ethiopian Jews are subjected to extreme
      racial discrimination in Israel based on their color, and cases have
      been recorded in Israeli hospitals where organs donated by Falasha
      Jews were rejected by hospital officials based on racist reasons.
      Ethiopian Jews are usually gathered in small and impoverished
      neighborhoods in fringe areas of Israel, as well as holding most of
      the jobs with meager wages and hard labor, and serving in the most
      dangerous areas among the Israeli forces.

      Gaza Withdrawal and the Demographic Battle

      About the relation between the withdrawal from Gaza and the
      continuous demographic battles, Dr. Ibrahim said, "there is a tight
      and direct relation between the withdrawal and the demographic
      battle, as Sharon has called in June to withdraw from Gaza Strip,
      where there is a tight and direct relation between the withdrawal
      and the demographic battle, as Sharon has called in July to withdraw
      from Gaza Strip, where 1.3 million Palestinians live million
      Palestinians live, and that has become necessary for Israel to
      retain its 'Jewish and democratic' character."

      According to the professor, the Labor's opposition in Israel regard
      the Israeli occupation as eventually threatening the Zionist
      project, as Israel would not be able to maintain a Jewish and
      democratic character if Jews became a minority, pointing out that
      the rightist leader Ariel Sharon has long refused this argument,
      wagering on the arrival of "a million immigrants" to Israel within
      ten years.

      But with the constant decrease in immigration rates, this aim became
      impossible to achieve, as 24 thousand immigrants, half of them from
      the former Soviet Union, arrived to Israel in 2003, and in the first
      six months of 2004 only nine thousand immigrants arrived.

      Dr. Ibrahim also noted that the immigrants from the United States
      have increased slightly, while the French and Ethiopian immigrants
      remained steady.

      Demographic Battle and Peaceful Resolution

      The former Israeli minister and current member of Knesset, Avigdor
      Lieberman, who also chairs the rightist Israeli party 'Israel
      Beiteno' (Israel our home) has proposed at Hertziliya's fifth
      security conference his own project for a final status resolution
      with the Palestinians, which focused on a full withdrawal from the
      Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, along with trading lands
      based on population presence, as he proposed to join the Arab
      triangle area inside Israel to the West Bank and annexing all the
      Israeli settlements in the West Bank to Israel.

      According to Dr. Ibrahim, Lieberman said that "my plan might be
      different from any other plan in two concepts; the first is that
      from what I heard from everybody so far, they propose a national
      state for the Palestinians, without including any Jew in it, and on
      the other hand they want to turn Israel into a bi-national state.
      They say they're afraid of the demographic factor, and we want a
      democratic and Jewish state, and I believe that the left has to be
      more honest in order to tell the truth. They want Israel as a state
      for all its citizens, and I reject that. I'm talking about a pure
      Jewish and Zionist state, for Jews only and not Arabs, and who
      refuses that can only stay here as a guest."

      "I'm not talking here about a Transfer," Lieberman
      continued. "Transfer we only make for Jews, and this is what we made
      for the Jews of Yamit (the largest Israeli settlement in Sinai,
      which was evacuated in 1981), and this is what they're doing to the
      Jews of Gush Qatif (an illegal Israeli settlement bloc in Gaza
      Strip). This is a Transfer par excellence. They come with trucks and
      load Jews in them, and those who refuse are hand-cuffed and forced
      out of their homes, after living there for more than 30 years,
      without asking them or getting their consent."

      Finally, Dr. Ibrahim said that absorbing thousands of Ethiopian Jews
      and the withdrawal from Gaza are just Zionist attempts to delay the
      demographic battle, which is inevitable and Israel would lose it
      without a solution based on establishing an independent and
      sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

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