(from Haaretz) The Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem rose approximately 30 percent over the last ten years, reaching 3.76 million, up from 2.89 million, according to census results released Saturday.
Only 208,000 Palestinians were counted in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which is sought by the Palestinians as a future capital, said Luay Shabaneh, head of the Palestinian Central Statistics Bureau.
Demographics play a crucial role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with higher population figures potentially bolstering Palestinian territorial demands.
The unexpectedly low figure for east Jerusalem - it fell even below an estimate of 210,000 in the 1997 census - was immediately challenged by Palestinian politicians. In 1997, census-takers were barred by Israel from going door-to-door and based their result on projections. This time, census volunteers conducted an actual count, working discretely to avoid confrontations with Israeli authorities, Shabaneh said. (more...)