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Immediately after the election, however, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned, confirming suspicions of voting irregularities and fraud.
In fact, Palestinian and Israeli officials were said to have worked well together to facilitate voting.MYTH FACT The purpose of the security fence is the prevention of terror.Its route has been carefully plotted to maximize the security it provides to the citizens of Israel and minimize the inconvenience and harm to Palestinians.According to a study by a team of independent researchers, the 2004 Palestinian-Arab population was closer to 2.4 million than to the 3.8 million cited by the PA.The independent study comes up with its figures largely by deconstructing PA statistics, but Israel's leading demographer, Professor Sergio Della Pergola of Hebrew University, has challenged the result, saying his estimate of 3.4 million Palestinians is based on Israeli data (the CIA estimates the population for the West Bank and Gaza at 3.6 million).After the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the government had to more carefully balance security concerns and harm to the Palestinians, the route of the fence was adjusted to run closer to the “Green Line.” When completed, the fence will now incorporate just 7 percent of the West Bank — less than 160 square miles — on its “Israeli side,” while 2,100 square miles will be on the “Palestinian side.” If and when the Palestinians decide to negotiate an end to the conflict, the fence may be torn down or moved.
Even without any change, a Palestinian state could now theoretically be created in 93 percent of the West Bank (and the PA will control 100 percent of the Gaza Strip after the disengagement is complete).
While Abbas is now seen as a legitimately elected leader by most Palestinians and the international community, the PA has no history of democratic institutions, so it remains in doubt whether the various terrorist groups will also accept his leadership, and whether the security services will enforce the president’s will.
Natan Sharansky observed that “It is important that these elections took place, because it important that the new leadership comes, or will come, not through violence.
The independent study focuses solely on discrediting the PA statistics and does not address the crucial issue of future trends, which Della Pergola shows are clearly in the Arabs’ favor.
The new report argues that the growth rates in Israel and the territories have been lower than previously forecast (though they use figures for only the last four years), but even the new figures show that the growth rate for the Arabs remains higher than that of the Jews, so the proportion of Jews should continue to decline.
This is very close to the 97 percent Israel offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, which means that while other difficult issues remain to be resolved, the territorial aspect of the dispute will be reduced to a negotiation over roughly 90 square miles.