Three-, Two- or One-State Solutions: Israeli-Palestinian Population Projections

Joseph Chamie, Center for Migration Studies

The near-term prospects for a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians appear remote. Despite the challenges posed by the many contentious issues, this paper offers four general scenarios as possible options providing likely demographic trends and their implications for the future. In addition to a “status quo” scenario, the paper considers population projections up to mid-century for three-, two- and one-state scenarios. Whatever the scenario or solution envisioned, the population projections clearly demonstrate that demography will continue to play a decisive role in the conflict. Over the coming decades the Palestinian population is expected to grow more rapidly than the Israeli population, primarily the result of higher birth rates among the Palestinians. The projected trends also indicate that it will be increasingly difficult for Jewish Israelis to maintain their current dominant majority within Israel. The paper concludes with a consideration of the likely political consequences of the projections.

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Presented in Session 51: Subnational Estimates, Projections and Forecasts