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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bizarre stats and slanderous implications

The "Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics" just released a housing survey of the territories, and leads with a bizarre and highly suspicious statistic:
Housing Conditions Survey Data 2006 indicate that 29,314 of households in the Palestinian Territory lived in houses that had been completely or partly damaged during the period 28\09\2000 to 15\06\2006
That number would mean 14 houses damaged or destroyed, day in and day out, over six years.

Notice the start date they choose is the first day of the intifada, but they carefully do not say that Israel damaged all these houses, just that they were damaged or destroyed. The choice of start date makes the accusation while the bureau can claim accuracy. But in fact, how many of these houses were damaged by Israel and how many by Palestinian Arabs themselves? How many were torched by rival families, rocketed by rival militias or simply burned by bored arsonists?

Another implication of this statistic is that the homes damaged in 2001 have not been repaired since then. Obviously, most have, and the families are living in normal houses now. But this is more dramatic because it makes it sound like the families are not living in their houses today because of (implied) Israeli aggression.

The definition of "damage" is never described, either. A bullet hole? Smoke? A jealous husband knocking his wife's head through a wall?

Then comes this anomaly that may shed some light:
However, the number is higher for Gaza Strip at 28,997 than the West Bank at 317 household.
Nearly 99% of the houses reported damaged are in the Gaza Strip. Makes one think that perhaps the house damage has little to do with "occupation," doesn't it?

Now after the sensationalist findings are out of the way and the foreign press draws the proper anti-Israel conclusions, the survey finds some other facts that don't exactly jive with the "poor densely-populated starving Palestinian Arab territory" meme:
Results show that 55.6% of households in the Palestinian Territory live in a house, while 40.8% live in apartments, compared to rates of 58.0% and 39.9% at the end of year 2000.

Results show that the percentage of households living in owned housing units in the Palestinian Territory is 81.5%, where as 11.5% of households live in rented housing units.

According to the results the average of housing density in the Palestinian Territory in general is 1.8 persons per room, this average was nearly the same in comparing with the year 2000.
Not exactly the Third World that one would think with the billions in aid that the PalArabs have received over the past decade. Most families own their own homes and the homes are not crowded.

Just another example of how facts and half-truths can be easily twisted and turned into propaganda.

UPDATE: Sure enough, the PalArab media are saying explicitly that these are all Israeli "house demolitions."

And Soccer Dad rightly points out in the comments that we don't know if these numbers include the wholesale demolition of the thousands of Jewish-owned houses in the territories from Israel's abandonment of Gaza.