In 1845 Benjamin Disraeli published the novel “Two nations”.
The title does not refer to England and France, or to England and Germany, but to England and England. The rapid industrialization of Great Britain created an urban working class of poor and uprooted people which started to develop its own social and political identity – separate and unequal; them and us – but sharing the same territory.
Gladstone (left) and Disraeli (right) were the leading British politicians in the second half of the 19th century. Both spent several periods as prime minister, for the Conservative and the Liberal party, respectively.
Today thirteen million Jews and Arabs (as well as some smaller ethnic groups) are sharing less than thirty thousand sq. kms of land in the Middle East. The numbers below are from gWolframAlpha (though details may be disputed):
- Israel: 20,770 sq.kms.
- West Bank: 5,860
- Gaza: 360
The current populations are
- Israel: 7.3 million
- 6.0 million Jews
- 1.6 million Arabs
- West Bank: 4.4
- Gaza: 1.6
This means that Arabs constitute a demographic majority in the area between Lebanon and Egypt, west of Jordan. This is also the case if minorities like Druzes, Bedouins and Christian Arabs are excluded.
This majority will increase in the years to come. The projected populations in 2020 are:
- Israel: 8.2 million
- West Bank: 5.8
- Gaza: 2.2
The so-called “two-state solution” is still the official policy of most states concerned about the Middle East. But the lack of political progress, and the steady growth of settlements in the occupied West Bank, seems to close that window. We are left with two nations sharing one piece of land.
There is no Palestinian state, but sixty-five years of conflict has created a Palestinian nation.
Wikipedia: The population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2012 to be 7,941,900 people, of whom 5,985,100 are Jewish. Arabs form the country’s second-largest ethnic group with 1,638,500 people (including Druze and Bedouins). The great majority of Israeli Arabs aresettled-Muslims, with smaller but significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins and Arab Christians. Other minorities include various ethnic and ethno-religious denominations such as Druze, Circassians, African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, Samaritans, Maronites and others.
Disraeli (or D’Israeli) came from a familiy of Portuguese Jews.