Jerusalem-born US Citizens May List Israel as Birthplace on Passports

October 29, 2020

by: Ilse Strauss

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A US passport

Thursday, 29 October 2020 | The more than 50,000 US citizens born in the Israeli capital may soon be allowed to list Israel as their place of birth on American passports, a US official told Politico yesterday. The announcement marks a drastic departure from a decades-old State Department policy that permits US passports to state “Jerusalem” as a citizen’s place of birth, but not “Jerusalem, Israel.”

The official policy, ratified in a 2015 Supreme Court case, “recognizes that Jerusalem, the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations,” the State Department’s website explains.

The policy therefore serves as a safeguard against Washington having to take a position on the final status of the contested city that both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their own, and explicitly prohibits listing “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth on any US passports. Under the new policy, however, individuals will have the option of choosing between “Jerusalem, Israel” or sticking with simply “Jerusalem.”

According to Politico, the reversal in policy is the latest in a long list of Israel-friendly overtures made by US President Donald Trump. Perhaps the most notable came in December 2017, when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and subsequently moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the City of Gold five months later.

However, even the president’s recognition and a US embassy in Jerusalem could not persuade the State Department to budge from its position—until now.

Following President Trump’s shift in stance, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman—backed by pro-Israel lawmakers—have worked to see the passport policy amended to be in line with the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Their efforts paid off. Last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the passport policy was under consideration, the Times of Israel reports.

The Trump Administration will reportedly ratify the change in the next few days, less than a week before the US heads to the polls for presidential elections. The formal announcement is expected to come from the State Department.

Posted on October 29, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 29, 2020)

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