Palestinians in the Netherlands will for the first time be able to list the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as their place of birth, in part because of the Dutch policy that Israel has no sovereignty over those areas.
Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops informed the House of Representatives in The Hague of the change on Friday, explaining the decision was based on “the Dutch viewpoint that Israel has no sovereignty over these areas,” and the fact that the Netherlands doesn’t recognize Palestinian sovereignty.
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Natives of these areas who are living in the Netherlands currently have two options when specifying their birthplace at the Dutch civil registry – ‘Israel’ or ‘Unknown’. The ‘Unknown’ option was only added in 2014, following protests seeking fairer options.
These options apply to Palestinians born after May 15, 1948, when the state of Israel was established.
While natives now resident in the Netherlands are still excluded from simply listing Palestine as their place of birth, they will now be able to use the name of the territory they were born in.
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The Netherlands does not recognize Palestinian sovereignty so the move is seen as a positive step people identifying as being from there. While the UN and 136 countries do recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, many EU countries are said to be waiting for this to be established as part of a peace agreement in the region.
Knops said the categories added are based on United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accords.
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