Monday, July 26, 2010

Many Palestinian Arabs Like A One State Solution--Do They Know What They're Getting Themselves Into?

The LA Times blog, Bablylon and Beyond, reports an unscientific--albeit insightful--poll:
A poll on the Palestinian Ma’an news website that ended Monday showed that more than 56% of Palestinians support a former Israeli defense minister's idea to annex the West Bank and grant Israeli citizenship to its 2.5 million residents.

...What the poll indicates is that a slim majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories have given up on the idea of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security. Many now prefer the one-state solution, which means Israel would incorporate the remaining parts of historic Palestine, excluding the Gaza Strip, which Arens seems to have ignored.
According to the post, the thinking behind a one-state solution is that Palestinian Arabs would, in time, become the majority in Israel as a result of their higher birth rate, and would eventually take control of the country.

The only problem with that idea is that it does not take into account the actual demographic data.
Back in 2008, Yoram Ettinger reported that:
since the year 2000 Jewish fertility is on the rise (2.8) while the fall in Arab rates (3.5) came no less than 20 years earlier than predicted.

The annual number of Jewish births has risen 40% since 1995 (80,400 then compared to 112,455 in 2007) while the number of Arab births has steadied at 39,000.
Last year, Paul Morland, wrote about the rise in the Arab birthrate as a result of the demographic transition in the area. But that rise in the birthrate is only part of the story:
However, after the first stage of demographic transition - a falling death rate, a persistently high birthrate and thus rapid population growth - invariably comes a second stage, in which birthrates fall. This is now happening within Israeli Arab society, and has been for some time. The average Israeli Arab woman is now having fewer than half the children she had in the 1960s, while the Jewish birthrate has recently stabilized and even risen. This is seen in the number of children actually born each year. In 2001, there were around 95,000 Jewish births in Israel and 41,000 Arab births. Just seven years later, in 2008, Jewish births had risen to over 117,000, but Arab births had declined to less than 40,000. In a period that constitutes barely a quarter of a generation, Arab births had fallen from around 30 percent of the total to around 25 percent. This has been a steady trend and, should it continue, it will only be a very short time before Jewish and Arab births each year are broadly proportionate to the overall balance of Jews and Arabs in the population as whole - that is, 4:1, or 80 percent and 20 percent, respectively. [emphasis added]
There is another aspect of living together in one state that the Arabs may be overlooking--acculturation.

Philologos wrote back in 2008 about how Hebrew words have made their way into Arabic:
What are the Hebrew words that creep most commonly into the speech of Israeli Arabs? They seem to divide between everyday expressions of social intercourse on the one hand, and words for things or situations that are associated by Arabs with Israeli culture on the other. Haaretz lists some words that belong to the second category, such as ramzor (traffic light), mah.som (checkpoint), g’lidah (ice cream), lah.maniyah (bakery roll) and sulamit (the hash sign on telephone dials). Belonging to the first category are words like b’seder (all right, okay), b’vakasha (please) and me’anyen (interesting).
He concludes:
Is increased code switching to Hebrew among Israeli Arabs a first harbinger of what may one day become their wholesale adoption of Hebrew as their native language? Although it may seem remote at the present moment, it is not inconceivable that, if Arabic-Hebrew code switching continues to grow, such a development could start to take place a generation or two from now — at first among the best-educated and most integrated Israeli Arabs, and subsequently, among the Israeli Arab population as a whole. This has happened over and over with minority groups in the course of history, and although there are strong forces working against it in this particular case (for example, Israeli-Arab enmity, the universality of Arabic in all the countries bordering on Israel, the special connection between Arabic and Islam, etc.), it is not something that can be totally ruled out. It will be very interesting — me’anyen k’tir — to see how things stand when Israel has its 120th birthday 60 years from now.
This is more than merely a hypothetical thought experiment--there are those among the Arabs who see this possibility as a threat, which they are taking seriously:
The Arab Writers Union formed a Damascus bureau meant to prevent the infiltration of Hebrew terms into Arab culture, Israel Radio reported on Sunday, adding that the new group said it would prevent the "normalization" of cultural ties with Israel.

Hussein Jumaa, the head of the AWU, said that the formation of the new bureau was meant to curb the influence of Israeli culture on the Arab world.

The fact that Arab media outlets interview "Zionist politicians and researchers," Hussein said, "could lead to the coming generations in the Arab world to know [more] about Zionist intellectuals and writers than they do about Arab men of letters."
If this is a threat to the Arab world as a whole, imagine the "threat" to those Arabs who want to live in a single state side by side with Israeli Jews?!

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