Thursday, March 4th | 20 Adar 5781

November 12, 2019 5:33 am

Yes, Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem Can Become Israeli Citizens

avatar by Adam Levick


A view of Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Oliver Holmes has been The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent for nearly two years, yet — as he shows in a recent article about the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab — he still often fails to grasp some basic facts about the holy city.

Here’s the relevant paragraph from the piece, “Jerusalem’s ‘love neighbourhood’: a refuge for star-crossed Palestinians”:

Under Israel’s chaotically complex occupation, Palestinians are divided into multiple categories, often dictated by where they reside. Near the top of the bureaucratic hierarchy are Palestinians in Jerusalem, a city that Israel has annexed in its entirety and claims is “undivided.” They are eligible for Israeli services and can travel in the country, although they cannot vote or be full citizens.

First, Holmes omits important context, such as the fact that, after the Six-Day War, when Israel united the city, all Palestinians in “east” Jerusalem were offered full citizenship. The overwhelming majority declined. So instead, they were granted permanent residency status.

Additionally, though Palestinian residents of Jerusalem can’t vote in national elections, they can vote in municipal elections — which renders Holmes’ claim that “they cannot vote” at best misleading.

However, the most egregious error is Holmes’ claim that they cannot “be full citizens.” In fact, Jerusalem’s Palestinians — who have become increasingly Israeli in their identity and political aspirations — are eligible to apply for full citizenship, and thousands of such requests have been approved.

Shortly after our initial complaint, The Guardian amended the article, and the following editors’ note was added:

Adam Levick covers the British media for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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