Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempted last week to reassure Israel that President Obama’s May 19th speech was misconstrued; Mr. Obama’s repeated calls for Israel’s return to the 1967 lines grew out of his concern for the Jewish state, claimed the former White House Chief of Staff.
In his June 2nd Washington Post article, Mr. Emanuel echoed the president’s contention that “the hard realities of demography” threaten the survival of the Jewish state. Clearly, both anchored their arguments in the conjured estimates of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. A 2006 World Bank study found a “32% ‘inflation’ in the number of Arab births, ” alleged by the Palestinians.
A more recent comprehensive study on Jewish-Arab Demographic Trends in the Land of Israel, published earlier this year by Yakov Faitelson, found that “ in 2011 there is a 66% Jewish majority … in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria.”
The study demonstrated that
- “Despite 120 years of demographic calamity projections, the Jewish
population in the Land of Israel succeeded to grow from a 5% minority to a
- “In 2010, the Jewish fertility rate is 63% higher than Lebanon’s, 53%
higher than Iran’s, 33% higher than Turkey’s and Kuwait’s, 23% higher than
Saudi Arabia’s, slightly higher than Egypt’s and only 7% and 4% lower than
Jordan’s and Syria’s respectively.”
- “Israeli Arab fertility rate has collapsed since the 1970s [due to a most
successful integration into the infrastructures of education, employment,
finance, politics, culture, sports, etc.]…It declined to 3.5 births per
woman in 2009.”
- “In 1995, there were 2.34 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth. In 2009-10,
there were 3.12 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth.”
- “The demographic trends within pre-1967 Israel are identical to those in
Judea and Samaria…but, in a much faster pace. The fertility rate of Judea
and Samaria Arabs dropped from 6.44 births per woman in 1990 to 3.12 births
in 2010…lower than Israeli Arabs and substantially lower than the Jewish
fertility rate in the Jerusalem region.”
As this study clearly documented, “the shifting sands of demography” in the Middle East work in favor of the Jewish state, not against it, as Mr. Emanuel argued.
To be sure, the “uncertainty brought by the Arab Spring,” does not add to the stability of the region. But dividing the Jewish state will do nothing to calm the demands for freedom by millions of oppressed Arabs, reform corrupt regimes, create new jobs, or lead to democracy. Instead, weakening Israel – the only democracy and unwavering ally of the United States in the Middle East – would encourage the highly indoctrinated, well-armed savage Islamic fundamentalist elements in the region to move from political extortion to physical attacks on the Jewish state, as well as other U.S. interests in the region, such as Saudi oil-fields.
Mr. Emanuel warns of the danger to Israel from “unilateral efforts to create a recognized state of Palestine.” But these are hardly “unilateral;” the Palestinians are joined by the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, most OAS countries, as well as the Administration itself.
The U.S. is pressuring Israel to concede to the Palestinians under the pretext that a peace agreement will be based on “negotiations between the parties.” While the Administration is trying to dictate the Palestinian demands, the leaders of Palestinian Authority (PA) continue their refusal to come to the table. Mr. Obama’s repeated references to Israel’s confinement within the 1967 lines, led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday, to agree “in principle” to attend the Paris meeting in July as suggested by French. Abbas accepted the French initiative because it “mirrored US President Barack Obama’s vision [for a Palestinian} state based on 1967 borders” as outlined in his speech in May.
The dangers posed by “technological advances in weaponry,” and likely use of these weapons by Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Egypt, are real. Forcing Israel back to the 1967 borders will limit the shrinking country’s ability to effectively defend itself. Statements such as “No peace can take place … that does not provide Israel with the ability to defend itself” add nothing to Israel’s security.
President Obama wants an independent Palestine to be “a non-militarized state.” It’s a bit late for that. The CIA has been training Palestinian “security” forces for decade. A General Accounting Office study released in May 2010 (GAO-10-505) reported that the United States has already spent more than “$400 million to train, equip, and build facilities for PA security forces.”
The president’s attempt to explain his intention in referencing the 1967 lines “that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967” is unconvincing. Obama is known to choose his words carefully and to mean what he says. However, repeating the “1967 lines” reinforces the notion that these were acceptable and legitimate borders.
The “Arab Spring” did not usher in more freedom and tolerance to the region. Instead, it intensified violence, intolerance and suppression, while the Arab/Muslim regimes continue their decades-long attempts to detract attention from their tyrannical rule by pointing the figure at Israel. The president’s allusion to Israel’s alleged role as a major destabilizing element in the Middle East, lends credence to the Arab/Muslim accusation. The Administration’s shifting attitude towards the uprisings, which contributed to the destabilization of the region, raises serious doubts about the U.S. “commitment to Israel’s security.”
Clearly, both Messrs. Emanuel and Obama overlook the growing worldwide skepticism towards American assurance.