One of the most persistent tropes of the PR war against Israel is that "Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on the planet." The implication, of course, is that the Jews are hogging all the land and should move aside so as to allow the Arabs more, er, Lebensraum. Honest Reporting Canada quotes a Montreal rabbi who has crunched the numbers, and who begs to differ:
...Montreal has 4500 people per sq km. Do CBC reports begin all coverage of Montreal by saying, “Today in Montreal, one of the most densely populated places on earth. . .”. No. The assumption is, big cities have big population density. Gaza could well handle its population, which is less than Montreal’s, but Gaza is, of course, dirt poor. And speaking of dirt, in this densely populated place, 1/3 of the land is cultivated.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Tel Aviv-Yafo has 7170 people/sq. km, almost twice the density of the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem has 5642; Haifa has 4211. When missiles from Saddam Hussein fell on Israeli cities, did the BBC say that deadly missiles fell on one of the most densely populated places on earth? When Hizbollah rockets slammed into Haifa, Islam On Line probably cheered and certainly would not have pointed out that Haifa has a denser population than the Gaza Strip.
The fact is, the population density of Gaza is not out of line with urban areas elsewhere. The density is less than Montreal’s. The constant reiteration that Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth is one more way of convincing the world that the Palestinian refugees are in a cage created by Israel. Does anyone in Montreal think this city is a cage? There seems to be enough room for everyone, indeed, room to spare, and we have more people per square kilometer than Gaza.
But there’s a difference. What do Montrealers want? Jobs, education, development, tourism, culture, and education. Occasionally we get caught up in political chaos like Quebec sovereignty, and what does that do? It costs us jobs, educated leaders, tourism, and development. The concern of the Hamas leadership is not with economic development, not with education, not with drawing in factories or developing culture and tourism. The concern of the leadership of the Gaza Strip, Hamas, is the violent displacement of Israel from its rightful territory. The Hamas charter clearly states, "Israel will exist . . . until Islam will obliterate it. . . .". "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It . . . should not be given up."Maybe if Gaza had Montreal's smoked meat and bagels they'd give up on the jihad. ;)