Toward a Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Demography, Social Prosperity and the Future of Sovereign Israel

Uzi Rebhun, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Gilad Malach, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The expanding recognition of the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ostensibly removes a demographic threat to Israel that the Arab inhabitants between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will soon outnumber the Jews. The demographic and social concern of maintaining the character of the state of Israel as the place where the Jewish people can realize its right to self-determination and ensure a solid Jewish majority should be directed inward. Israel also wishes to continue to be a prosperous and developed country. This paper examines the changing proportions and characteristics of population subgroups and their effect on Israel’s future as a Jewish and prosperous state. Further we argue that the demographic composition does not allow Israel to accept the demand for the “right of return” whereas the two-state solution should involve the settlement of the Palestinian refugees in the new Palestinian state. We discuss directions for public policy.

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Presented in Session 190: Population, Politics, and Conflict in the Middle East and Western Asia