Despite claims that Israel is "oppressing" Palestinian Arabs and "occupying" unfortunate Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, most of the Palestinian Arabs living under Israeli control are much better off than those living in neighboring Arab countries - and probably better off than they would be living under the Palestinian Authority's rule if a state of "Palestine" were to exist.

"What is happening in Palestine is a crime we can put on the same plane as what happened at Auschwitz," Nobel Prize laureate José Saramago once said.

Unfortunately, those who believe this type of baldfaced lie are many. You'll find comments and articles supporting Saramago's view on news sites, Facebook posts, comments all over the internet, and also - on college campuses and in "human rights" protests. Even the UN and some sovereign countries fund the PA and Hamas out of the belief that their citizens are the underdog, in need of help in surviving Israeli "oppression."

A look at the facts.

In his recent op-ed on Ynet, Ben-Dror Yemini states several interesting statistics. According to former President of Bir Zeit University Gabi Baramaki, prior to June 5, 1967, there were no universities in Judea, Samaria, or Gaza. Today, there are over 50 institutions of higher education in those selfsame areas.

And according to a study commissioned by Palestinian Arabs, the sector now has the highest per-capita rate of university degrees in the entire Arab world.

In 1967, only four Arab towns were connected to running water. Today, 97% of the population (643 towns) have running water. And they don't pay for all of it - sometimes they steal water from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to avoid the bills.

Al-Najah University's Dr. Wael R. Ennab in 1994 wrote that the infant mortality rate in 1967 was between 152-162 per 1,000 live births. By 1974, the infant mortality was 132 per 1,000 live births, and in 1985 it dropped to 53-56 per 1,000 live births. By 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, the infant mortality rate had dropped to 30. And in 2002, it dropped further to 25. Currently, the infant mortality rate for Palestinian Arabs is 18 per 1,000 live births. Al ldue to Israel's investment in Palestinian Arab welfare.

While the rate continues to drop under the Palestinian Authority, the major, sharp drops all occurred between 1974-1993, under direct Israeli rule. To put it in perspective, the global average is 31.7, and in Arab countries, infant mortality still stands at a rate of 28 infants out of every 1,000.

Jihad-related conflicts claim over 20,000 lives per year, excluding wars. However, in 50 years of Israeli rule, only 11,000-12,000 PA Arabs have been killed - and an overwhelming majority were terrorists or aiding terrorists. This number is still less than the global average for traffic-related deaths, and it's much lower than the victims of murders in most major US cities.

Life expectancy under Israeli rule has improved as well. In 1967, the average PA Arab could expect to live about 48.6 years. Today, the average PA Arab can expect to live to age 73 or 75. And while population growth stands at 2% in the Arab world and 1.2% globally, PA Arabs enjoy a 2.9% annual population growth rate.

All of these facts together may explain why over one-third of Israeli Arabs say they prefer Israel to the PA, only 4% would want to live in such a state, and Arab support for the two-state solution has dropped considerably.