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Quietly, East Jerusalem Palestinians acquiring Israeli citizenship

There has been a trend in recent years of Palestinian permanent residents of East Jerusalem applying for – and getting – Israeli citizenship. Will this trend provide freedom, or further fragment Palestinian national identity?

By Riman Barakat

Today marks the 45th anniversary of what Palestinians and the international community refer to as the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, and what some Israelis refer to as the unification of Jerusalem. It is a good opportunity to examine one recent example of how unification or illegal annexation is changing the identity and political future of the Palestinian residents of the city.

As an East Jerusalem resident, I am struck by a recent trend:  many of my friends and acquaintances who hold Jerusalem identification cards – documents of permanent residency rather than Israeli citizenship – are quietly applying for and obtaining Israeli passports.

It’s not immediately clear why. Current residents of East Jerusalem – numbering over 350,000, or 38% of the city’s total population – already go about their daily lives, shop at Israeli malls, use Israeli services, frequent Israeli restaurants and bars, send their children to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and receive Israeli social and health benefits. What does “upgrading their status” from East Jerusalem residents to citizens of Israel add?  Why did East Jerusalem residents refuse the Israeli offer of citizenship in 1967, and why are they actively seeking to obtain it now, especially given that citizenship requires them to pledge the controversial oath of allegiance to the Israeli state?

I believe the trend is the result of a well-planned and consistently applied Israeli strategy to pressure the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. In 1996, Israel developed the “Center of Life Policy,” under which residents must continuously prove that they reside and work in Jerusalem, as a condition for continued residency status. Palestinian Jerusalemites slowly began to recognize the imminent threat of losing their Jerusalem residency status. Documentation such as landline phone bills, electricity bills, and proof of payment of municipal property tax bills are frequently requested by the Israeli Ministry of Interior upon renewal of identity cards or request for travel documents. Failure to produce those documents may ultimately result in the revocation of the Jerusalem ID.

In addition, East Jerusalem Palestinians face arbitrary threats of home demolition orders in Silwan and other neighborhoods, the continued infiltration of settlers, harassment at Ben Gurion Airport, the difficulty of obtaining building permits, a deteriorating infrastructure in Palestinian neighborhoods, and unequal distribution and allocation of budget and resources in developing Palestinian areas. These factors have led people to feel that an Israeli passport may provide some measure of improvement in their lives. Most of all, they hope  it will safeguard them against displacement from property, from the land and from the city that they call home. As I wrote in the Palestine-Israel Journal in 2008:


The Palestinian Jerusalemites today live in an ever-changing environment that necessitates a constant revision of upcoming threats. For many Jerusalemites, a daily exercise of “redefining home,” “flight from danger,” and “fear of displacement,” “fear of home demolitions” “fear of losing their IDs” govern their thinking. Unlike the 1948 and 1967 Palestinian experiences, which occurred more or less in a moment of declared war and, simultaneously, created populations that fit the legal definitions of refugees, the current political situation and the slower process of displacement has created a permanent refugee mode of behavior. It is one that contains all the psychological components of refugee behavior and is much more internalized, yet does not figure in the legal definition of refugees.

It’s only logical that people hoping to improve the quality of life for their children view Israeli citizenship as one way to escape the insecurity. With citizenship status, they are allowed to live anywhere in Israel, rather than suffer the threat of forced displacement in East Jerusalem, and relocation. Instead of having to apply for visas every time they travel abroad, they can just hop on a plane, without having to explain to border officials why they don’t have passports, and that they are stateless.

This is a logical conclusion for individual Palestinians but what does it mean for the Palestinian and Israeli governments? What does it mean for Palestinian identity?

Palestinian political representation of East Jerusalem has weakened both physically and virtually since the death of the PLO representative in Jerusalem Faisal al-Husseini, and the closing of the Orient House. If we ever see the day when the issue of Jerusalem is actually negotiated, will the PA act surprised that the number of Palestinians holding Jerusalem residency status – potential citizens of the Palestinian state – will be negligible?

As the PA turns a blind eye to the phenomenon of East Jerusalemites becoming Israelis, I wonder: does the PA still adhere to the vision of East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine? If not, the PA should start discussing the possibility of an Open City immediately, both internally and publicly.

Further, why does Israel actively grant citizenship to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem? Is it hoping that they will become a negotiating card for the Israeli government in its attempt to keep East Jerusalem? Is this another Israeli action to undermine the viability of a two-state solution? Are they assuming that since most East Jerusalemites do not vote in municipal elections that they will similarly refrain from exercising their right to vote in national elections? Does Israel believe that the current oath of allegiance declaring loyalty to the state guarantees that Palestinian East Jerusalemites will show greater compliance and less dissidence towards Israel?

Finally, what does it mean for Palestinian identity? If there are fewer Palestinians to vote in a future Palestinian national election, does this weaken the connection between identity and active citizenship? Will dual citizenship be possible if the long awaited peace agreement is reached?

Though we continue to believe the dream of a unified Palestinian identity, the reality is that this identity has become fragmented among the different statuses that each one of us holds. Gaza residents are trapped in a fortified prison. They view the West Bank as freedom, but in reality it is just another prison. For a West Bank resident, Jerusalemites appear to have many privileges, and Jerusalemites with an Israeli passport seem to have reached the ultimate level of freedom. But it’s all relative. Those new Palestinian citizens of Israel will soon realize that their pledge of allegiance could seal their lips from criticizing the unfulfilling oath that they have just taken, namely that a state cannot reconcile the value of democracy it claims, with its exclusivist Jewishness.

Will the day ever come when we are not divided according to a barometer of suffering and restrictions on freedom? When peaceful and dignified life is enjoyed equally by Palestinians from refugee camps, Gazans, West Bank residents, East Jerusalem residents and Palestinian citizens of Israel, and they can feel equally secure that their basic individual rights and freedoms are not threatened daily and systematically? For that we require democracies that advance beyond the free and fair elections to recognizing individual freedoms, and the right to be different.

Riman Barakat is the Co-Director of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI)

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    1. Joshka Wessels

      I can only guess, but am pretty sure, it’s the same law and policy that is applied for the Syrian Arabs at the Occupied Golan Heights which were annexed in 1982. It is made attractive to become Israeli citizen as that gives more access to the social welfare system and other advantages although many Syrians still refuse and keep resisting this type of “Israelisation”. The Golan Heights are not Israeli, it’s occupied. They are Syrian territory. The annexation was illegal and not endorsed by the UN. That’s a fact.

      Which could only mean the ultimate objective for the “Netanyahu Kingdom” is annexation…of East Jerusalem and at least the C Areas. This would be a possible explanation why Israel has no problem to accept the Palestinian applications for Israeli citizenship….

      Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      I am beginning to understand. If
      Israel offers east Jerusalem citizenship, it is racism because it is having Arabs adopt Israeli nationality.
      If Israel offers to transfer Arabs towns like Um el-Fahem to Palestinian control it is racism
      because it is trying to remove Arabs from Israeli nationality.
      If Israel encourages Arabs to adopt Israeli nationalisty, it is racism and if Israel encourages Arabs to give up Israeli nationality it is racism.
      In a similar vein, here at 972 we were told it is racism that Israel built the Jerusalem light rail through both Jewish and Arab parts of the city because it is trying to tie the two parts of the city together.
      It also would have been racism if Israel had NOT built the light rail into the Arab areas because it would be keeping the Arabs out of the Jewish part of the city.
      Got it.

      “Leftist/Progressives can understand everything except those who don’t understand them” – Lenny Bruce

      Reply to Comment
    3. the other joe

      @xyz – there is a difference being offered nationality and accepting it. AFAIU the residents of East Jerusalem have always been offered Israeli citizenship, up to now they have refused to apply.
      I don’t think this is such a stupid strategy. With more voters in East Jerusalem the residents might start to get some rights and services.

      Reply to Comment
    4. X

      Dear XYZ, there was no mention of the word racism in this article, not even once. The article raises important questions with no intention of name or shame, and tries to understand the political implications.

      Reply to Comment
    5. zayzafouna

      If not, the PA should start discussing the possibility of an Open City immediately, both internally and publicly…this is treasonous thought. Part of liberating Jerusalem means keeping the Israeli invaders out

      Reply to Comment
    6. Zayzafouna, the goal of de-Judaising east Jerusalem is a bit unrealistic, isn’t it?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jerry

      Open city means a city that will be undivided, open for Jews, Christians, and Muslims from Israel, the West Bank and the whole wide world. No kicking anyone out, but sharing the city.

      Reply to Comment
      • David

        These Palestinians who are applying for Israeli citizen ship are smart! They know where the bread is buttered! they know what a sham the Palestine myth is with their worthless corrupt political leaders consisting of Hamas, et. al. They may not be thrilled living in a unified Israel where their addresses state Samaria and Judea, but that is a lot more preferable that living in Backwardistan! Jobs, social services, educational opportunities, you name it, Greater Israel offers more to anyone who is willing to become a team player rather than being a third generation slave to the victim mentality!

        Reply to Comment
    8. palestinian

      Why dont we share Yafa and Haifa , remember we are the indigenous population.When it comes to Jerusalem ,then we have to share the city (its a holy place for Jews) but when we talk about the Galilee Ramle Askalan(not Ashkalom) then its only for Jews.Lets sing for liberty and justice.

      Reply to Comment
    9. max

      The PA has invested – using Gulf money – huge amounts in East Jerusalem in the past years in its effort to gain the population’s support.
      In parallel, Israel has been applying an immoral and politically stupid policy towards its Palestinians residents, including the threat of revoking residency cards – which resulted in people actually coming back to Jerusalem and swelling the population without adding new residencies (there were 60,000 Palestinian residents in ’67, and Riman says it’s 350,000 45 years later).
      And yet, more of its Palestinian residents would prefer to live in the Israeli side if it were to be divided than those who would choose Palestine, and possibly a majority would prefer it united, in Israel.
      They must know something Riman knows as well – he lives there, and prioritize it above his (and others’) national/political priority.
      They’ve been sharing life – though on unequal terms – with the Jewish population for long enough in a unified city, to be able to make an educated choice
      And why would it be surprising? Aren’t many Zionists living outside of Israel because of the way they set their priorities?
      The Palestinians in Jerusalem have a choice not given to many others, so they choose

      Reply to Comment
    10. For a decade or so now, Israel has deliberately made it much harder for Palestinian Jerusalemites to acquire Israeli citizenship. What once required a simple request now takes forever, and requires exams. And pledges. And language exams. Which, for a state where Arabic is also an official language, is ridiculous – go tell Quebecquers they must learn English or the Flemish they must learn French to be citizens of their own countries.

      Simply put, Israel never really cared about East Jerusalemites. They want the land without the people – and at one point decided it could actually achieve that too. So walls cut through neighbourhoods, people have their residency revoked for the silliest reasons.

      And amidst those daily attacks that don’t make it to the news but that poison people’s lives (can you imagine the daily life of a Palestinian family when one of their children, for instance, was studying abroad and had his residency revoked? So the kid is away, somewhere, with no citizenship, possibly at risk of expulsion if her visa expires? And the financial strain it means, to hire lawyers, and attempt to reverse this decision? and this goes on for years. And tens and tens of thousands of shekels..) how can people be blamed to try to improve their lives a little bit?

      As for voting – East Jerusalemites vote in the Jerusalem municipal elections even if they aren’t citizens. But the Jewish candidates don’t give a damn about them. Generally don’t even bother to advertise in EJ. In fact, in the last mayoral elections only one candidate bothered to have posters in Arabic – Gaydamak. And the most he promised them was that he’d have one of his three deputies to be an Arab. How generous!

      And for the person asking about the light rail: it was built to serve the EJ settlements, not the Palestinian Jerusalemites. Not only are the few stations in Palestinian neighbourhoods far and distant and illogically placed, but the line has taken over half of one if not the main artery of EJ, and what used to be a 2.5-lane road in each direction now only fits one in each direction; so the road is further congested.
      The way the rail was built is simply hateful, there is no other word.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Kolumn9

      They are getting Israeli citizenship because it is pretty obvious that Israel has no plans of giving up East Jerusalem. Between the wall, the elimination of Palestinian political representation, the Jewish enclaves and the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, there is no chance for a new partition of the city. The Palestinian state seems to have been delayed, the PA is bankrupt, the West Bank is not doing great politically. It is only a rational to understand that East Jerusalem is staying Israeli and to try to do the best for one’s kids by getting Israeli citizenship.

      Another thing is that apparently it is very expensive to live in East Jerusalem. Housing is sparse and very expensive. The same problem exists on the Jewish side, which is why many Israeli Jews are moving away from Jerusalem. I wouldn’t be surprised if those Arabs that get Israeli citizenship move out to the mixed or Arab cities in Israel. Jerusalem is too expensive. The West Bank is not an option, leaving only the option of moving to Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Kolumn9

      To answering the question of why Israel offers them citizenship. It kinda has to. They are legal residents of areas that Israel has annexed.

      As to the question of whether this grants Israel a negotiating card in the future. Of course it does. The Palestinian Authority can’t reasonably pretend to speak on behalf of the residents of East Jerusalem in negotiations if most of them choose to become Israeli citizens. As it is most Arab residents of East Jerusalem prefer to remain under Israeli sovereignty in a future agreement.

      I have no idea how the PA/PLO can shift its demand to that of an open city. I don’t even know what that means. If Jerusalem is an open city and assuming no border changes, the governance of Jerusalem will look incredibly similar to the way it does right now, with a majority of the population and of the city council preferring to be a part of Israel. If we use the definition Jerry provided, then up until the second intifada Jerusalem was an open city, except that the Arabs *chose* not to participate in government.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Leen

      Mohammed, you hit the nail on its head. Israel does not want the Palestinian Jerusalemites, which is why it deliberately makes life harder in east jerusalem. The traffic lights on the east side, no joke, opens up for only a few seconds, while on the west side it goes on for a minute or so (there is a video of this on youtube being timed). The light train also messed up the roads and caused even more traffic and congestion for residents of Shufat and it is a nightmare to drive in that area. Not to mention, the Shufat refugee camp, Palestinian residents of Israel, are walled in.

      As a Palestinian Jerusalemite, the only reason the majority of people I know who take up citizenship is simply for travel, to leave, so when they return they are not expelled, revoked residency,etc. And who can blame them? With Israel’s ridiculous laws if you are out of the country for more than 3 years it has a right to revoke your residency (and then where will you go?). It is exhausting, draining, and absolutely ridiculous.

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    14. Leen

      Ironically, the people who do acquire Israeli citizenship end up leaving for US and Europe, or Jordan. They just want to know they can go back without stressing that their residency will be revoked.

      And plus, if you do get a Jerusalem ID number even before the citizenship, you cannot acquire a Palestinian number because the Palestinian IDs are also issued by Israel. And Israel does not grant Palestinian Id numbers to previous Israeli ID numbers. So if your residency is revoked, you cannot even go to the West Bank for a ‘better life’.

      So for those who said it’s a better life for Israel, that’s not the reason why Jerusalemites get citizenship. In fact, a lot of the Jerusalem ID holders leave to Ramallah and Bethlehem up until recently with what the news laws are being passed around making it more risky to live in the West Bank.

      The fact of the matter is, even if we bring the PA in discussion, Israel controls Jerusalem, most of the West Bank and Gaza. It is futile and pointless to talk about PA, or how life is better under there. Becuase let’s be honest, despite all the alienation and stress living in Jerusalem, at least we do not live under martial law, that’s pretty much the incentive not to go to the West Bank.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Tal

      One more step towards the one state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Shlomo Krol

      Open city with the special status in the historical city center was part of Clinton proposals in 2001. It’s a good idea and if it works well it could be the first small step to the vision of the future state or federation of Israel-Palestine or even of the future open Middle East.

      Yes, the policy of oppression of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem must be condemned as the oppression against Palestinians in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    17. XYZ: All this would NOT be racism if East Jerusalemites were given fair, no, EQUAL treatment & services that israelites/West Jerusalemites receive, especially since they pay their fair share of ‘required israeli government/municipality’ taxes (though we dont receive it either in full or at all). You, as well as I know that israel is not offering even the ones who want to acquire israeli citizenship the passport. Its a good thing that israel is bent on squandering everything for itself and its self-interest anyway, so until otherwise, yes, it will stay a racist state. Also, you, as well as I know that israel wont transfer Um el-Fahm, nor any other such town to Palestinian control, so that example also will not do. Sorry to burst your bubble, if it looks, smells, and acts like a duck, then its a duck. If israel doesnt like the status its in, then it should change its policy.

      Regarding the light rail, I wish I could benefit from it as the israelis do. In total, there are only 3 stops in Arab towns, which by the way it quickly skims through. So a lot of Arabs dont benefit from it except if one would like to go to locations in an illegal israeli settlement, Jerusalem, and the rest of the stations go through Western Jerusalem, as well as other destinations mostly used by israelis-NOT ARABS.

      In a similar vein, here at 972 we were told it is racism that Israel built the Jerusalem light rail through both Jewish and Arab parts of the city because it is trying to tie the two parts of the city together.
      It also would have been racism if Israel had NOT built the light rail into the Arab areas because it would be keeping the Arabs out of the Jewish part of the city.
      Got it.

      The Other Joe: as I said above, not everyone is given a fair chance. To go even further with an example, my husband’s request for one, finally after 2 years of submitting the required papers, has finally been in the ministry of interior’s term “frozen” until further notice. Assumptions get you no where. Go out and read on the issue.

      Reply to Comment
    18. max

      Observation: Riman tells us that recently Israel grants more Israeli passports to Jerusalem Palestinians than it used to; he’s worried and wonders why.
      Then we hear that [this is absolutely wrong and] it’s practically impossible to get one.
      Suddenly a jump on the issue 🙂
      One has to love this liberal objectivity when selecting one’s preferred ‘fact’.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Max, if the authorities grant one passport in one year and a dozen the next, the number of passports issued has increased – but that still doesn’t make it easy to get one, does it?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Ya3cov

      This article mentions the PA as if it is still relevant. They are but a tool of the occupation, nothing more.
      Palestinians should begin demanding equal rights, and end the charade, for the occupiers will never allow for the establishment of a viable Palestinian sate.

      Reply to Comment
    21. R

      Though it may be difficult for some people to apply and obtain the passport , a good number of people are now admitting that they have acquired it. I have been told that the number according to the Ministry of Interior is not great, but the does not eleminiate the fact that Palestinian Jerusalemites are seeking to obtain it in hope of making their lives better. Anyway this piece is interesting because it brings all issues into light .

      Reply to Comment
    22. Dorn L

      The author totally omits the core issue of the conflict: Arab rejection of a permanent Israel, no matter how small! It would not make a difference if Israel was just Tel Aviv, nor if its Prime Minsier was the Dalai Lama.

      And as regards refugee camps: Israel uplifted all the JEWISH REFUGEES FROM ARAB LANDS. How different things could have been if Arab regimes had done the same for the similar number of Arab refugees. Instead they have cynically manipulated a refugee issue caused by their own wars, for 64 years.

      Reply to Comment
    23. max

      @Vicky, without the context of the article, your observation is right. Within its context, it makes no sense as the reference is to the relative ease – suspiciously too easy would be the underlying message in the original text.
      Anyway, it’s just an observation about the comments; on the content I commented earlier
      What do you think of the facts that East Jerusalem has now 6 times more residents than 45 years ago, that apparently most of them prefer a unified Jerusalem and that more of them would prefer to live within Israel if it were to be divided than within Palestine? That’s what Riman is struggling with

      Reply to Comment
    24. Leen

      @Max, you are making assumptions about Jerusalem, Palestine and Israel. Again, first and foremost, Israel is the one dictating the terms, the fact that we even bring in the PA is futile. They do not have any bargaining power, Israel issues PA IDs, Israel controls the borders, Area C and Area B, as well as funds to the PA and so on.
      Now once more as I’ve brought light how East Jerusalemites legally are sort of stuck between the West Bank limbo and Israeli citizenship, they cannot really became West Bank civilians even if they wanted to because Palestinian Jerusalemites cannot be issued PA ID numbers if they have been issued an Israeli ID number. Thus if they give up Israeli residency, their choices are limited to Jordan.
      Secondly, again, West Bank is under occupation, the people there are basically under martial law or atleast PA civilian law is subjected to martial law. I am not sure even if Jerusalemites were somehow issued PA ID cards are willing to go under martial law and a obvious form of occupation.

      It really is pointless to talk about dividing Jerusalem and what Palestinians want if Israel holds are the cards in this equation. If anything East Jerusalem Palestinians became citizens of Israel to upgrade from third class citizen to second class citizen.

      Reply to Comment
    25. max

      @Leen – “@Max, you are making assumptions”
      Did I? Where?

      Reply to Comment
    26. This tract argues that a state cannot be democratic if it is Jewish. Yet all Arab states are self-defined as such. Membership in the “Arab” League confirms that point. Can a state be democratic if it is self-defined as an Arab state? [by the way, there are large ethnic minorities is several Arab states, such as Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Berbers, Black Africans, Copts in Egypt. The Jews in Arab lands were forced out long ago.]

      Moreover, all Arab states but Lebanon are self-defined as Muslim and/or the legal system is defined as favoring Islamic law [shari`ah]. Can a state be democratic if it defines itself as Islamic?
      This question becomes even sharper since non-Muslims have been oppressed, financially exploited and humiliated in Muslim states since the Arab-Muslim conquests more than 1000 years ago. How can an Islamic state or one based on shari`ah law be at all considered democratic in view of its history of treating non-Muslims as dhimmis?

      Reply to Comment
    27. max

      @JS, I don’t think the Arab states are considered to be democratic (Lebanon excluded), but other religion-centric states are considered democratic.
      As long as Israel has a Jewsih majority and provides equal rights to its minorities (well, this may need to be extended to ‘provides and applies’), there’s no conflict between the terms.
      Anyway, when did democracy become a goal unto itself?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Leen

      @Max, you said that Palestinians would prefer to live in the united capital rather divide with Palestine and I’ve outline why your assumptions were wrong. Mostly that they can simply ‘go to West Bank’ and leave it at that, but the fact is the Israeli government controls the legal status of the people in Jerusalem and West Bank. So it’s not as simple as ‘okay we’re going to be part of Palestine now and get WB Ids, yay!’.

      Also, no arab country is classified as democratic, even Lebanon. Most of them fall under the monarchist/authoritarian regimes. Secondly, it depends what you see ‘Jewish’ as, an ethnicity or a religion. If it is the latter, then it is a bit strange to compare it to arab countries even if some identify as muslim countries (most of those who do tend to downplay the ‘arab’ part and aren’t exactly arabists). If it is the former, then that is also problematic because many palestinians also have some jewish ancestors.
      Also you are a bit late on the arab nationalism. State arab nationalism was in full force in 1970s and 1980s, but it is slowly dying now. Also the notion of ethnic minorities is a complex issue in the Middle East, it sort of depends which ethnic group you are talking about and where. For instance Kurds in Iraq enjoy a great deal of autonomy, and the president of Iraq is Kurdish. Iraq is no longer a arabist state, it is a federal government with a large Kurdish minority yet still arab and have a dual recognition of ethnicities.

      Reply to Comment
    29. max

      1. “you said…” actually, I said that they’d prefer a united town (I didn’t refer to capital) and rather Israeli than Palestinian if divided. So I don’t think that your comment is relevant – sorry if I caused the misunderstanding
      2. Is Lebanon a democracy? Is it classified as such? Leen says No, others say Yes, yet some say in between.
      The Economist ranks Lebanon as a Hybrid Regime (as are Turkey & the PA), while Israel is ranked a Flawed Democracy (and so is France…)
      On another scale, Lebanon is ranked as Partially Free (and Israel as Free).
      Obviously, the above would be a shock for 972mag site readers, but the bottom line is that while faulty, Lebanon’s voting system and freedom of press typically lend one to say that the government and the people are relatively well in sync – which is the issue we discuss
      3. I don’t define Jewishness for our context, I let dictionaries and Wikipedia do it for me, and they do it well enough to make your comment irrelevant
      4. Sorry, I don’t recall that I referred to Arab Nationalism. I referred to Riman’s national considerations. Again, sorry if my text confused you

      Reply to Comment
    30. Leen

      1.And where do you get that information from? Sorry, I’m a Jerusalemite and I am not familiar with this notion of preferring the Israeli than Palestinian if divided.
      2. Lebanon is a confessionalist parliamentary democracy, though it does not embrace civil liberties and only has a basic concept of democracy regarding the parliament. Plus it’s not unheard of where presidents and the executive end up abusing their power.
      The most democratic arab country really is Morocco. Although it has its problems with civil liberties.

      The last two comments weren’t actually directed to you Max, sorry, forgot to add another @. It wasn’t you who was having a lengthy discussion about islam, democracy, arab nationalism, arab, etc.

      Reply to Comment
    31. max

      1. I refer to the poll conducted early 2011 by the Pechter Middle East Polls for the Council on Foreign Relations together with the head of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, Dr. Nabil Kukali. It also fits with the impression of Khaled Abu Toameh.
      I know – it’s a poll, and he’s an Israeli Arab, but it also fits with the message coming from this post.
      I’d say that this is the best non-personal info we can get.
      2. We don’t seem to disagree here (though I know a few Moroccans who would laugh at the idea that they’re Arab). My point is that as far as the issue we’re concerned with, namely the gap between population and government in regards to the active support of (Palestinians, Syrians…) can’t be as large as it could potentially be in most other Arab countries, and their treatment of Palestinians gets the worst score

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    32. Leen

      1. Is there a link please?
      2. I’m using the word arab for moroccan, but yes I am aware of the multiethnic make up of Morocco, how it is considered part of the Maghreb subsystem as opposed to Arab subsystem, the identity of Moroccans. In general, when I used the word arab, I refer to linguistic make up countries.

      I kind of don’t understand how the treatment of the Palestinians by the arab regimes is relevant though to be perfectly frank.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Leen

      Actually, I found the link and now that I extensively looked through the responses and surveys, I was right. The majority want to remain under Israeli rule is because of freedom of movement, not because of cultural or political situations.
      Furthermore, it is because they refused to move, which I agree. Why should we move? I was born and raised in jerusalem.
      And if you noticed, there was also a poll conducted regarding if there is discrimination within the muncipalities and public services and the majority answered yes.
      Also us Jerusalemites experience a great degree of freedom of movement compared to the West Bank where we have access to airports, beaches, borders, can go in and out of West Bank. I am quite positive rarely anyone wants to give up that notion.

      Reply to Comment
    34. max

      Leen, I never claimed that the Palestinians prefer Israel to Palestine because of ideology(, or that their treatment is acceptable). On the contrary, I wrote that it’s quite normal that given a choice many would prefer to drop the ideology in favor of other factors. I also mentioned that many Zionists do the same.
      So I think that by now we agree on all 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    35. sk

      Well, if they get citizenship I believe they can rent Israeli apartments or rent land from the ILA.

      Also, the right to vote, and losing the risk of suddenly being transferred to a new PA state

      Reply to Comment
    36. Howiej

      Could it be that they are requesting citizenship because they would rather be in Israel than under the “freedom” of the P.A. or whoever takes over “Palestinian” territories?
      The Arab shop owner would not have Israelis in his shop from ’48-’67 because no Jews were allowed into the Jordanian occupied territories.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Leen

      @Howiej, you mean they would rather be second class citizens than unidentified people under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank?
      It’s an upgrade, definately.

      Reply to Comment
    38. an Israeli

      The author of this article really don’t know why Palestinians are getting an Israeli citizenship??
      Wow you really don’t know your people do you?
      They are afraid that at some point Israel will struck a deal with the Palestinian authority and their neighborhoods will be under Palestinian control.
      And then bye bye to Jewish first world Israel, bye bye to Jewish first world medical services, stipends, education, social benefit, and hello 3rd world Palestine.
      Oh yes they are proud Palestinians and hate the Zionists but they will all leave their lands and move to west Jerusalem if that land were to ever to return to their brothers.
      I as a Jewish Israeli wish that Israel would give these Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian authority. We don’t need and don’t want these 350,000 Arabs in Jerusalem or Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    39. old fart

      Jerusalem Palestinians want Israeli citizenship for ability to stay in Israel, if Jerusalem is divided. Last thing in the word they want is to live in”independent Palestinian Jerusalem”

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    40. jamal

      I know the truth because i know a friend who acquired citizenship. I know people who live in ramallah but have israeli passports. The reason is simple they want freedom of movement and living anywhere and at the same time get all the benefits from israel. It is greedy, but those people are willing to sell not only their land but their mother too just to get money and benefits. It sad but this is life.

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      • Vivarto

        I agree with you Jamal.
        Israel should not give citizenship to Muhammedans.
        Muhammedans should all be expelled from Israel and every other civilized country.

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