It has been often reviewed how the United Nations has manufactured Palestinian Arab “refugees.” The fabrication done at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been via:
- calling someone a “refugee” when they left a home or town, rather than a country which is the actual definition of a refugee;
- allowing the descendants of those Palestinian Arab “refugees” to claim such status, even though no such status is conferred to other refugees;
- Telling those refugees that they will return to homes that grandparents left decades ago, even when such homes no longer exist and not a goal of relief agencies;
- Still calling such people “refugees,” even when they live in the same country that they claim to be refugees of, in the case of Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank
However, the NUMBER of Palestinian Arabs has not been reviewed, and particularly, how UNRWA has increased the number of Palestinian Arabs through its actions.
Fertility Rates in Undeveloped Areas
The UN has completed studies that show how more developed countries witness a much lower rate of birth and older population compared to less developed countries.
Development Stage: Advanced Less Least
Annual rate of
population change 0.3% 1.4% 2.4%
Population age 0-14 16% 28% 40%
Maternal Mortality 0.01% 0.24% 0.44%
Undeveloped countries like Yemen and Sudan have very high birth rates, averaging over 4 children per mother. They similarly have a high maternal and infant mortality rates, as the level of healthcare in those countries is quite poor.
Not so for the healthcare of Palestinian Arabs, thanks to UNRWA.
UNRWA deploys billions of dollars every year to give the Palestinian Arabs the best healthcare in almost the entire world. As a result, despite the high birth rates in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the mortality rates are a fraction witnessed throughout the region.
Most of the mothers in the Middle East average between 1.5 and 3.0 children. Societies in Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Qatar average just below two children per mother according to the World Health Organization. The incidents of children under five years old dying was low in those countries, at roughly 1.0 to 1.5%. On the other end of the spectrum were countries under severe distress, including Sudan and Yemen. These countries with over four children on average per mother saw an expected rate of death for children under five years old of 6.0%, five times the rate of the more stable and advanced regions.
But the Palestinian Arabs are an anomaly. While Palestinian mothers average 4.1 children, according to the WHO, the probability of the children dying was the same as experienced in advanced Turkey or Saudi Arabia, at under 1.5%. Applying 2014 data of 121,330 Palestinian Arab births in Gaza and the West Bank, would suggest that 1,808 of these children will die before age 5, but the theoretical number without UNRWA intervention would be closer to that 6.0% percentage of Sudan and Yemen, or 7,280 deaths. That means that because of UNRWA, there will be 5,472 more Palestinian Arab children alive from the class of 2014.
Further adding the 0.2% improved rate of maternal mortality represents approximately 240 mothers each year that do not pass away due to UNRWA’s efforts. In total, considering that UNRWA has been operating for close to 70 years through multiple generations, the number of incremental Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank because of UNRWA is close to 1 million.
Future Action: Jobs versus Contraception
The United Nations created a document together with the Palestinian Authority called “Palestine 2030 – Demographic Change” which told an interesting narrative and plan for the Palestinian demographic boom.
The opening lines of the report bemoaned the slow rate of the population growth: “Palestine’s demographic transition particularly its fertility component, continues to lag behind that of many Asia countries, including Arab countries… Fertility, which was extremely high in the 1970s has been cut in half.” A shocking statement compared to the statistics listed above.
The report continued to discuss the connection between fertility rates and education and income. “Very universal marriage, early marriage, and a low contraceptive rate, especially for modern methods of contraception (used by 44%), are the main proximate determinants of the present level of fertility. Household wealth also plays a role. But it is mainly education, particularly female education that determines the fertility rate.”
The report estimates that the Palestinian Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank will grow from 4.7 million in 2015, to 6.9 million in 2030 and 9.5 million in 2050. The doubling of the Palestinian population between 2015 and 2050 compares to a global growth rate of just 36%. The high Palestinian rate of growth is only anticipated in the large poor African countries like Chad, Uganda and Tanzania. Consider further that the number of “refugees” in the GS/WB areas is forecast to grow from roughly 2 million today to 3 million in 2030 and 4.5 million in 2050 (+125% for refugees and +85% for non-refugees). UNRWA clearly impacts the population growth, with estimates of “creating” an additional 800,000 Palestinian Arabs by 2050.
Those are staggering figures for a small territory.
And yet the report claims that the solution to the population boom is not population control, but more jobs and education for women.
If the United Nations is on the front lines of health services in the Palestinian territories, why is the use of contraception only at 44%, when it stands at 64% in the rest of the world where women have to obtain, purchase and manage their health on their own? Why isn’t UNRWA doing more education about family planning and making more contraceptives available? It is estimated that 7.0% and 5.0% of Palestinians use the pill and condoms, respectively. Shouldn’t the rate be double or triple, more in line with Lebanon (15.1% pill) and Turkey (15.9% condoms)? Overall contraceptive use should be targeted at 75%, in line with the Islamic Republic of Iran at 76.6%.
The UN General Assembly made a global goal of comprehensive family planning in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which it set out “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.” With thousands of feet on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, the UN is in prime position to take an aggressive stance.
Palestinian Arabs have extremely high fertility rates similar to third world countries but receive first-class healthcare from the United Nations. In doing so, UNRWA has helped the Palestinian Arab population balloon by an incremental one million people, or 25%. Will the UN advance its own global family planning goals for Palestinian Arabs, or does it prefer to create a demographic army to confront Israel?
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