The so-called "Two-State Solution" is a dead duck.
What's more, the preposterous notion that the West Bank and Gaza are somehow not part of the polity known as the State of Israel has allowed the Israelis to deny almost half their population the electoral franchise.
Israel has occupied the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights from Jordan, Egypt and Syria, respectively since their ill-fated 1967 invasion. The international community considers these territories non-Israeli (including East Jerusalem, which Israel formally annexed) and since the Oslo Accords, the whole or part of them to constitute some sort of Palestinian State in the future.
Israel exercises total military control over the territories and civil control over about 72% of the West Bank ("Area C", Oslo II: a temporary arrangement) and civil and joint-security control over a further 25% ("Area B"). Palestinian Authority exercises full civilian and security control over ...drum roll!!...3% of the West Bank.
Israel's network of bases, settlements, the Wall and the nebulous nature of these Oslo Accord temporary administrative areas have created some Godawful mess that resembles a South African Bantustan. Frankly, the tragic combination of incompetent Palestinian leadership and factionalism, worldwide attention drawn to Syria, Iraq and the "Arab Spring" etc. has lead to some sort of drift which has suited Israel enormously. Ismaʻīl Haniyya has done the Palestinians absolutely no favors with his controversial alliance with Hezbollah and Iran, giving the Israelis the perfect excuse to continue to exert military control over the region.
Israel's long-term strategic interest is to annex as much of the West Bank as much as possible and settle it with Jews from wherever (mainly New York, judging by the accents. Pity there are people already living there). Control of the Jordan river is a major objective as Israel is parched, but also a military requirement too.
What is the total population of Israel and the "Occupied territories"? This interesting paper provides the answer:
Basically, although 76% of the State of Israel is Jewish, only 52% of "Greater Israel" is Jewish. The main problem is that the Muslim/Christian birth rate far exceeds that of the Jews and although there was a surge in immigration from the USSR in the '90s, this has abated significantly. Furthermore, a significant proportion of the Jewish natural increase in population is due to the Ultra-Orthodox Hasidim (who have a very ambivalent relationship with Israeli nationalism and are exempt from military service):At the beginning of 2010, Israel's core Jewish population reached 5,704,000. When combined with 313,000 non-Jewish members of Jewish households-mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union-the enlarged Jewish population amounts to 6,017,000. This includes 296,000 residents in the West Bank.
The Arab population that is incorporated into the state of Israel-enlarged by natural increase, the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and the adoption of Israel's legal system for the Golan Heights-reached 1,536,000 in 2010. The West Bank and Gaza have a combined Palestinian population of 3,670,000, for a grand total of 5,206,000 Arabs living in Israel and territories under the Palestinian Authority.
Looking at the table above, one striking figure is that nearly 11.5 million people live in this small territory-about half of which, especially in the south, is thinly
populated desert. (Population is quite dense in the northern half of both Israel and the Palestinian territories.) The total population is even more remarkable in light of the evaluations of experts in the 1920s and 1930s. They believed the top carrying capacity of British Palestine, given its available physical resources, was about 2.5 million people. This says a lot-beyond the political aspects of the demographic equation-about technology's ability, albeit not unlimited, to increase the economic capacity of a land and its possible population size..
..and..Israel's Jewish fertility rate nearing 2010 was slightly on the rise at 2.9 children per woman-substantially higher than in any other developed country, and twice or more the effective Jewish fertility rate in most diaspora communities. This reflects not only the typically large families of the Jewish population's more religious component, but also a diffused desire for children among moderately traditional and secular Jews, a trend especially notable among the upwardly mobile.
The current fertility rate for Israel's Arab citizens, at 3.7 children per woman, is down from its top level of nearly 10 children on average in the early 1960s. A closer look at the data reveals stable fertility patterns among the majority of Israel's Arab citizens, and a much higher but rapidly declining fertility rate among semi-nomadic Bedouins in the south.
..and..Here are some facts.
In 2009, Arabs accounted for just over 20 percent of Israel's population (including West Bank Jewish residents but not Palestinians in the occupied territories). Yet Arabs generated 25 percent of all births in Israel because of higher fertility rates and, importantly, because of their much younger age composition. At the same time Arabs, again because of their much younger age composition, accounted for only 10 percent of all deaths in Israel.
The rest of the paper discusses the inevitability of the State of Israel attaining a bi national character. But that doesn't consider the large Palestinian populations of the Occupied Territories that are increasing: Israel is already a bi national state, but one in which almost 35% of its population is electorally disenfranchised. Not very democratic is it?Consequently, excluding international migration, 30 percent of the total natural increase in Israel's population last year occurred in the Arab sector-significantly higher than the Arabs' population share. Excluding immigration, in 2009 Israel's population grew by 1.5 percent among Jews and 2.5 percent among Arabs.
The present trend thus generates a steady growth in the Arab share of Israel's population. Israel's Arab population is expected to reach 24 percent in 2030 and 27 percent in 2050, while the share of Arabs among children younger than 15 will likely be 30 percent by 2030. Looking at age composition, in 2009 Jews comprised 91 percent of all Israelis at age 78, 77 percent at age 48, 70 percent at age 18, and 68 percent at age 6. This represents a gradual transformation in structural identity within Israeli society as one moves from the older to the younger age cohorts-a transformation from a national into a binational state.
Israel's intransigence is terribly calculating and the international community should respond in kind: let us say there are no "Occupied Territories", just "Greater Israel". This is the truth, of course. The international community should then apply the same opprobrium to Israel it did to South Africa in the '80s for the electoral disenfranchisement of Blacks: how can Israel be a democracy is up to 34.65% of the population doesn't have the right to elect deputies to the Knesset despite 40 years of civil and military administration from Tell Aviv?