- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
EDITORIAL: Middle East fertility wars
Question of the Day
What does Hillary Rodham Clinton have against Jewish babies? Last week, the secretary of state issued a demarche to Tel Aviv stating that Washington "wants to see a stop to [West Bank] settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions." The euphemism "natural growth" refers to children. About 9,600 babies were born in West Bank settlements in 2007, and the State Department views these bundles of joy as a threat to its precious peace process.
The demographic issue is central to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Some Israelis fear that they will be overwhelmed by a rapidly growing Palestinian population, so to the settler population, having children is a patriotic act. The new arrivals require larger houses, schools, playgrounds and other facilities, hence the need for the settlement growth that is upsetting Foggy Bottom.
The no-baby declaration came as welcome news to Palestinians, who are rapidly losing their advantage in the breeding battle. Aggressive international family-planning programs contributed to Palestinian fertility rates dropping almost 30 percent between 2003 and 2008, to 3.31 children born per woman. This compares to 2.77 births in Israel, which experienced a 10 percent increase over the same five-year time period. If these trends continue, Israelis will be outpacing Palestinians in a few years.
For this and religious reasons, abortion is a crime in the Palestinian Authority unless the physical health of the mother is endangered. Palestinians generally are what in American parlance would be called "pro-life." A 2008 study by WorldPublicOpinion.org showed that just 38 percent of Palestinians say abortion should be an individual decision, compared to a global average of 52 percent. Most support some form of government restrictions.
The Obama administration has taken a despicable stand in favor of promoting abortion overseas. On his third day in office, President Obama rescinded the 1985 Mexico City Policy, which stipulated that U.S. Agency for International Development family-planning assistance would be given only to foreign nongovernmental organizations that would pledge not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. Mr. Obama also seeks to return U.S. financial support to the United Nations Population Fund, which promotes controversial "family planning" efforts in the developing world.
Many Palestinians view such internationally sanctioned family-planning efforts as a conscious plot to reduce their numbers. In a report in the Hamas-run daily newspaper Filastin, Sari Hanafi, the director of the Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center, quoted a colleague who said that "the United States seems to have two ways to control population growth in Palestine: one through the Apache gunships and the other through family planning programs."
The State Department would do well to stay out of this issue. The West Bank settlers in particular will not respond well to finger-wagging from the United States over how many children they choose to have. Behind the euphemism "natural growth" are thousands of babies, girls and boys, who are objects of love and adoration of their doting parents. Secretary Clinton's devotion to the peace process is a much less powerful force than the love of Israeli parents for their children.
About the Author
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reject any legislation dubbed 'comprehensive'
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Media are complicit in Hamas' tactics
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gazans should help defeat Hamas
- EDITORIAL: The impeachment trap
- EDITORIAL: Illegal aliens in the shadows? What shadows?
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Get Breaking Alerts
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'