'Palestinians' applying for Israeli citizenshipmost Jerusalem 'Palestinians' would rather live in Israel than in the 'Palestinian Authority' or Hamastan. Now, they're acting on it. Al-Quds al-Arabi reports that some 10,000 'Palestinians' have been granted Israeli citizenship (link in Arabic). Khaled Abu Toameh doesn't seem at all surprised. Neither am I.
According to ministry officials, in the past two years, the number of applicants for Israeli citizenship has intensified.
Palestinians living in Jerusalem enjoy the status of permanent residents of Israel. This means that they hold Israeli ID cards but do not have Israeli passports.
As permanent residents, they are entitled to all the rights of an Israeli citizen, with the exception of voting in general elections.
Israeli law, however, allows any resident to apply for citizenship.
Yet, in the first two decades since Israel annexed east Jerusalem after 1967, few Palestinians applied for citizenship.
At that time, it was considered an act of treason to apply for Israeli citizenship; the PLO openly threatened Palestinians who obtained it.
But the trend changed after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and, a year later, the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Suddenly, the number of applicants increased dramatically and Palestinians were no longer afraid or ashamed to stand outside the offices of the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem to apply for Israeli citizenship.
The main reason the Palestinians rushed to apply for citizenship was their fear that Israel would also cede control over east Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.
Their biggest fear was they would lose all the privileges they enjoy as residents living under Israeli sovereignty, including free health care and education, and freedom of movement and work.
In addition, the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem realized that despite all the difficulties they face in Israel, their living conditions were still far much better than those living under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
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