Israel Rejects Possible Use of “State of Palestine” Passports
by Zach Pontz
Israel has warned Palestinian Authority officials that it will not honor passports with the “State of Palestine” printed on it. The Palestinian Authority has responded by saying that it will not rush to print passports or identification cards bearing the name “State of Palestine” due to concerns that such a move will prevent Palestinian Arab movement through Israeli crossings.
“As far as the Israelis are concerned, we are not going to overload the wagon of our people by putting ‘State of Palestine’ on passports,” PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday. “They (Israelis) will not allow them to travel.”
Erekat said the new emblem will be used in correspondence with countries that have recognized a state of Palestine.
“At the end of the day, the Palestinian Authority won’t cause trouble for its people,” Nour Odeh, a spokeswoman for Abbas’ government, said, according to Israel Hayom.
Last week PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree to officially change the name of the PA to “State of Palestine” following its status upgrade at the United Nations in November.
Palestinian Authority diplomatic missions around the world have been told to use the new names, including those in countries that did not vote “yes” at the General Assembly, said Omar Awadallah, a PA Foreign Ministry official.
According to Israel Hayom, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev dismissed the name change as pointless but declined comment on whether Israel would retaliate in any way. “Instead of looking for gimmicks, Palestinians should negotiate with Israel to bring about the end of the conflict,” he said. “That will lead to a situation of two states for two peoples.”