Olmert claims that taking these Arab neighborhoods out of Jerusalem's municipal boundaries will strengthen the city. From a security perspective this makes no sense since transferring Tzur Baher, Jebl Mukaber and Isawiya to the Hamas-Fatah-Islamic Jihad-al-Qaida-Hizbullah-led Palestinian Authority will place all the remaining neighborhoods in the city within enemy rocket, mortar and even rifle range.
Olmert apparently thinks that partitioning the city will secure the Jewish majority of the city. Yet, taking these neighborhoods out of the city will actually endanger that majority.
Over the past few months, a team of American and Israeli researchers conducted a demographic study of Jerusalem and its environs. Last year the same researchers - Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, Michael Weiss and Yoram Ettinger - conducted the first independent study of the Palestinian population data published by the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics in 1997. Their study exposed that the PA had inflated the number of Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza by some 1.5 million or 50 percent. Olmert and his colleagues in Kadima and the Labor Party have justified their plan to surrender Judea and Samaria to Hamas on the basis of these inflated numbers which falsely project that by 2015 there will be more Arabs than Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The team's research methods and their findings were reviewed by the leading American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. At the Herzliya Conference in January, Eberstadt praised the team's research methods and stated that their conclusions were "not only plausible but quite persuasive."
Their study showed that today Jews comprise 59 percent of the overall population of the areas that include sovereign Israel, Judea and Samaria and Gaza and 67 percent of the population of Judea, Samaria and sovereign Israel. Far from becoming the minority by 2015, the group's projections show that in 2025, Jews will comprise between 56-71 percent of the overall population of Judea, Samaria and sovereign Israel. In other words, the team showed that there is no demographic threat to Israel's Jewish majority.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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