JERUSALEM (Oct. 19)
The rapid rise of the Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Israeli civil administration’s lack of plans to deal with it, may be one of the deeper reasons for the Palestinian uprising, according to Meron Benvenisti, a leading authority on the administered territories.
Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem who heads the West Bank Data Project, told a news conference here Tuesday that the population growth in the territories is much quicker than the development of basic services, This feeds the growing frustration of the population, he said.
Benvenisti spoke on the occasion of the publication of his new “West Bank and Gaza Atlas,” a 140-page volume of maps and demographic data.
According to the atlas, the Arab population of the territories. reached 1,73 million last year, considerably more than the 1.4 million cited by the Central Bureau of Statistics, a government agency.
Both sets of figures are estimates, inasmuch as no population census has been conducted in the territories since they were captured by Israel in 1967.
Jewish settlers in the territories numbered 67,000 last year, 2,506 of them residents of the Gaza Strip.
The West Bank Data Project is a privately funded undertaking that studies demographic and socio-economic developments in the territories.