Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

More Palestinians in Jerusalem seek Israeli citizenship

 


JERUSALEM—More Palestinians in east Jerusalem are applying for Israeli citizenship in hopes of swapping their vulnerable status as mere city residents for the rights and ease of travel that come with an Israeli passport.

But after long touting its offer of citizenship to them, Israel is now dragging its feet in granting it, those who track Palestinian applicants say. Lawyers said their Palestinian clients now wait months for an appointment with the Interior Ministry and an average of three years for a decision.

Israeli officials denied they were trying to discourage applications through stalling tactics, saying delays resulted from a rise in the number of requests.

The citizenship debate reflects the unsettled status of Jerusalem’s 330,000 Palestinians, who make up 37 percent of the city’s population, 50 years after Israel captured and annexed the eastern sector.

The vast majority have city residency documents, allowing them to work and move about, but aren’t citizens of any country. For travel abroad, they use temporary documents issued by Israel or Jordan.

Asking for an Israeli passport still carries the stigma of implied acceptance of Israeli control, and only about 15,000 Palestinians have requested one since 2003; of those, fewer than 6,000 were reportedly approved.

 

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