RAMALLAH, May 15, 2016 (WAFA) – The Palestinians Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said, the Israeli Jews utilize more than 85% of the total area of the historical land of Palestine, whilst Palestinians, who comprise 48% of the total population, utilize less than 15% of the land.
In a report issued by PCBS to mark the Palestinian Nakba Day, the central bureau said, ”The Palestinian world population totaled 12.4 million by the end of 2015, which it stressed indicates that the number of Palestinians worldwide has multiplied about nine-fold in the 68 years since the Nakba.
According to statistics, the total number of Palestinians living in historic Palestine (between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean) by the end of 2015 was 6.2 million and this number is expected to rise to 7.1 million by the end of 2020 based on current growth rates, said PCBS.
Statistical data also show that refugees constitute 42.8% of the total Palestinian population in Palestine. It said UNRWA records showed that there were 5.59 million Palestinian refugees registered at the beginning of 2015.
“Around 28.7% of Palestinian registered refugees live in 58 refugee camps, of which 10 are in Jordan, 9 in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and 8 in the Gaza Strip.”
PCBS said, “The number of Palestinians who remained in their homeland in the 1948 territory after the Nakba was estimated at 154 thousand persons, but estimates for 2015 show that it has grown to 1.5 million 2 on the 68th anniversary of the Nakba.”
It said the number of Palestinians in Palestine was estimated at 4.8 million at the end of 2015: 2.9 million in the West Bank and 1.9 million in Gaza Strip.
Regarding the Palestinian density, PCBS said, “The population density in Palestine at the end of 2015 was 789 individuals per square kilometer (km2 ): 513 individuals/km2 in the West Bank and 5,070 individuals/km2 in Gaza Strip. In Israel, the population density of Arabs and Jews in 2015 was about 391 individuals/km2.”
As for illegal Israeli settlement built on the historical land of Palestine, it said there were 413 illegal Israeli constructions in the West Bank (including 150 settlements and 119 outposts) by the end of 2014.
Furthermore, during 2015, the Israeli occupation authorities approved the building of over 4,500 housing units in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank in addition to the units approved in Jerusalem.
Still, these same authorities deny the Palestinians the right to build and lay obstacles, which undermine any potential urban expansion especially for the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Area “C” which is under full Israeli control, added PCBS. It should be noted that Area “C” represents over 60% of the West Bank area.
Israel also erected its Expansion and Annexation Wall, which isolates behind it more than 12% of the West Bank land.
Data indicated that the total number of settlers in the West Bank was 599,901 at the end of 2014, 286,997 of whom in the Jerusalem Governorate (they represent 48% of all settlers in the occupied West Bank). Moreover, 210,420 of these illegal settlers live in Jerusalem J1 (that part of Jerusalem, which was forcefully annexed by Israel following its occupation of the West Bank in 1967).
In demographic terms, the proportion of settlers to the Palestinian population in the West Bank is around 21 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared with 69 settlers per 100 Palestinians in Jerusalem governorate.
Regarding water resources, PCBS stated that Israel controls more than 85% of the Palestinian water. “Palestine suffers from scarcity of water and resources.”
It maintained that the situation is further complicated by the prolonged Israeli occupation, which controls most of the existing water sources (85%) and prevents the Palestinians from their right to access their water sources or any alternative sources, Consequently, the Palestinians are compelled to buy water from the Israeli Water Company (Mekorot), purchasing around 63.5 million m3 in 2014.
Nakba in literary terms means a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake, volcano, or hurricane. However, the Nakba in Palestine describes a process of ethnic cleansing in which an unarmed nation was destroyed and its population displaced to be replaced systematically by another nation, PCBS explained.
“Unlike a natural catastrophe, the Palestinian Nakba was the result of a man-made military plan with the consent of other states, leading to a major tragedy for the Palestinian people. The subsequent occupation of the remaining land of Palestine in 1967 resulted in an additional tragedy.”
In 1948, 1.4 million Palestinians lived in 1,300 Palestinian towns and villages all over historical Palestine. More than 800,000 of the population were driven out of their homeland to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab countries, and other countries of the world.
Thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes but stayed within the Israeli-controlled 1948 territory. According to documentary evidence, the Israelis controlled 774 towns and villages and destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages during the Nakba. The atrocities of Zionist forces also included more than 70 massacres in which more than 15 thousands, Palestinians were killed.