The Interior Ministry said the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria increased by 5 percent (12,800) this past year, bringing the total to 246,000. Some of the 8,500 evacuees from Gaza who moved to communities in Judea and Samaria may have helped boost the numbers. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was quick to condemn the growth, accusing Israel of damaging the prospects for peace. "These settlements and peace are two parallels that won't meet," said PA official Saeb Erekat. The PA is demanding that Israel uproot all 246,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria and turn the land over to them.