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Israelis, Palestinians both use demography as political tool

The aspirations of the political right to annex West Bank lands have never been more obvious, as reflected in this week’s stormy Knesset committee debate about Jewish-Arab demography.
Palestinian women standing on a balcony look at the damaged interior of the home of Bahaa Allyan, a Palestinian who killed three Israelis in a shooting and stabbing attack with an accomplice on a bus in October, after Israeli forces used jackhammers to destroy the walls of the middle floor of a three-story building in the east Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber on January 4, 2016. Allyan, who was shot dead, had on October 13 along with a fellow Palestinian shot and stabbed passengers on a
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The data cited this week in the Knesset by a top Israeli official would hardly have generated the storm it did were it not for the push by the Israeli right, mainly the HaBayit HaYehudi party, to annex West Bank lands and thwart the two-state solution.

At the March 26 session of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Col. Uri Mendes reported that according to official data compiled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), some 5 million Palestinians are registered in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Mendes is the deputy commander of the Israeli Civil Administration, tasked with administering the daily life of Palestinians in the areas under Israeli control. The figures he cited, along with the number of Israeli Arab citizens and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, some 1.8 million according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, bring the total to 6.8 million Arabs living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Israel’s Jewish population numbers slightly over 6.5 million.

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