A United Nations (UN) report on Judea and Samaria's "Area C" published Wednesday is a "politicized" inflation of numbers, according to a former official who helped draw the Areas A, B and C maps.
According to the report, 297,900 "Palestinians" live in Area C, a region full Israeli security and administrative control as per the 1993 Oslo Accords. The report was published by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA).
While Haaretz rushed to report the figure, which benefits Palestinian Authority (PA) demographic claims to the region, Shaul Arieli, a retired IDF colonel who helped draw the delineated maps in 1995, called the report a "deception."
While almost 300,000 Arabs may live in Area C, Arieli noted nearly all of them live in towns located mostly in Area B, administered by the PA. In fact, only 75,000 Arabs live in villages located fully in Area C. The fine print of the UN report actually places that number even lower, at 67,000.
"Practically speaking, this (report) is meaningless. What (OCHA) did is completely political...claiming that (the PA) needs Area C because a quarter of the population lives there. It’s not serious," charged the former colonel.
For his part, Arieli can not be accused of fudging the numbers in favor of Israeli rights to Area C, as the former IDF man is also a founder of the Geneva Initiative, and supports the "two-state solution" which would have Israel withdraw to the 1949 Armistice lines.
Arieli's assessment is backed by JURIST, a legal research website staffed by over 60 part-time law student reporters, editors and Web developers, and chaired by law professor Bernard Hibbitts of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
According to the organization's figures, a mere 4% of Judea and Samaria Arabs live in Area C, which makes up 61% of Judea and Samaria's land mass.
The inflated figures are further belied by previous reports; in 2011 OCHA released a similar report noting only 46,000 Arabs live in towns located entirely in Area C.