Israel’s Interior Ministry has issued a decision that allows granting Israeli citizenship to more than 20,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem.
According to the decision, Palestinians aged between 18 and 21 and proven to be living in Israel (including residents of the occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after the 1967 War and considers it part of its territory) now have the right to obtain the full Israeli citizenship and passport, provided that their criminal and security records are clean.
Israel’s Supreme Court has earlier slammed the government due to the unclear conditions required to grant the citizenship.
It has forced state authorities to reveal the criteria that need to be met for Palestinian Jerusalem youth to become citizens of Israel.
The court had considered this case at the request of a group of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, whose applications to obtain citizenship had previously been rejected.
This step was considered by the Israeli right-wing a “blow by the Supreme Court to the efforts to Judaize Jerusalem,” while the Palestinian Authority considered it a “giant leap in Judaizing Jerusalem.”
The settlement movements considered the decision a blow to the efforts to Judaize Jerusalem as it allows about 20,000 Palestinians to immediately obtain Israeli citizenship and gives 7,000 others the right to obtain it annually.
It also provides citizenship to thousands of Palestinians and Arabs from other nationalities that lived in Israel after marrying female Palestinians of '48, including Egyptians, Jordanians, Moroccans, Syrians, and Lebanese.
On the other hand, Head of the Arab Studies Society's Mapping and Survey department Khalik Tafakji considered the decision a giant leap in Judaizing Jerusalem.
In radio statements on Sunday, Tafakji said Israel wants to completely cancel the Jerusalem cause, whether through the population, land, or everything else.
He pointed out that when the final stage of negotiations begins, Palestinians will be left with nothing to negotiate.
“The land will be already controlled and a large segment of the population will be expelled through many projects, such as withdrawing IDs and granting Israeli citizenship to Jerusalemites whom the occupation seeks to isolate them from Israelis.”
Tafakji further noted that since 1967, more than 8,000 Jerusalemites have held Israeli citizenship, and Israel provided facilities for only some areas, such as the Old City and its environs.