The Times – Palestine and Population

This note in The Times was in response to an article by Matthew Parris in the Times describing the likely despair amongst Arabs following the war. Two respondents thought that I meant that Palestinians were in the wrong and that they should emigrate. This was far from my point, so I have added the explanations below.


The original note
The Times (London)

26th March 2003

Population Problem

War, or no war, Israel, or no Israel, rapid and continuing redoubling of populations in the Middle East makes poverty inevitable. Despair follows, and emigration is the only hope. Palestinians, for instance, have almost the highest birth rate in the world and almost the lowest death rate. Consequently, their population increase is rapid and unmanageable, bringing poverty and despair. Israel is an important factor in these troubles, but rapid population increase is important too. Curiously, it is almost never mentioned in debates.

Gerald Danaher


The explanation
War, or no war, (Even if there had been no war in Iraq) Israel, or no Israel, (and even if Israel did not exist) rapid and continuing redoubling of populations in the Middle East (in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq – and Afghanistan and Pakistan as well, for that matter) makes poverty (in these countries) inevitable. Despair follows, and emigration is the only hope.

Palestinians, for instance, have almost the highest birth rate in the world and almost the lowest death rate. Consequently, their population increase is rapid and unmanageable, bringing poverty and despair. Israel is an important factor in these troubles, but rapid population increase is important too. Curiously, it is almost never mentioned in debates.

A fuller letter
Even if there had been no war in Iraq, and even if Israel did not exist, rapid and continuing redoubling of populations in the Middle East (that is to say, in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq – and in non-Arab Afghanistan and Pakistan as well, for that matter) makes poverty in these countries inevitable. Not just likely, but certain. Despair and frustration follow, and emigration is the only hope.

Palestinians, for instance, have almost the highest birth rate in the world and almost the lowest death rate. The consequent rapid population increase is unmanageable, bringing poverty, despair and frustration. Israel is an important factor in these troubles, but rapid population increase is important too. Curiously, it is almost never mentioned in debates.

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