Fahed Fanek
The Jordan Times
March 16, 2009 - 12:00am

In a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, one author came up with a meaningful piece of demographic data. It says that the number of Jews around the world is estimated at 13.1 million, of which 5.4 million live in Israel proper and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The total number of Palestinians is estimated at 10.6 million, including 1.4 million in Israel proper, 3.8 million in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 2.4 million in Jordan, and 3 million in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere around the world.

Thus, the overall population in historical Palestine is estimated at 10.6 million, of which 49 per cent are Arabs and 51 per cent Jews.

The magazine further estimates the value of property that the Palestinians left behind in what became Israel to be worth up to $85 billion.

These figures are of special importance. They have strategic and political consequences. They reveal that the numbers of Jews and Arabs in historical Palestine are very close. Arabs may exceed the 50 per cent mark in a matter of few years, which poses a demographic danger to Israel.

This state of affairs will sooner or later oblige Israel to make a historic choice for its future: accept an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, accept a democratic state with dual nationalities, or continue to have a racist apartheid system similar to what used to exist in South Africa.

In that case, democracy will be applicable only to Jews, while Arabs will be deprived of all human and political rights, a form of government which has no future because the civilised world will not accept it.

These three alternatives do not obviously suit the Israeli ambitions. However, Israel has to accept what it thinks is bad in order to avoid what is worse. Admittedly, this is a very difficult decision to make, and that is why Israel so far opted for the postponement of the issue, a policy that was adopted by all governments. But until when?

The two-state solution is the best formula for Israel and the Palestinians. The whole world is pressing for this eventuality. Israel cannot defy the world any longer.

It is in the light of this demographic map that one can understand what His Majesty King Abdullah pointed out recently: that it is Israel, not Jordan, that is under pressure and must make up its mind and take the difficult decision before it is too late.

Under such circumstances, one cannot rule out the possibility that Israel may try to commit a great mistake in an attempt to export its demographic crisis and search for a different solution, at the expense of Jordan.

That would be a danger that should be met by unity and steadfastness of Jordan’s people, to face the possible conspiracy that could be worked out in darkness.

This is the reason behind Jordanians’ worries and the underlying high diplomacy practised actively by the King to build Arab solidarity and international support.

Jordan’s national security is shifting to policies at Arab and international levels. It calls for action to build Arab and regional alliances and gain the world’s favourable attitude towards Jordan.

It is our duty to make Arabs see in Jordan their first line of defence against Israeli threats, and to make America and Europe see in Jordan an oasis of democracy and human rights. Soft power works in these circumstances.


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