The United States reversed decades of policy today by declaring that American citizens born in Jerusalem can list Israel as their country of birth.
Up until now, if a child eligible for an American passport was born in the city of Jerusalem, no country was listed. Jerusalem was left subject to "final status" negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian who both claims he city as their capital.
President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then moved the U.S. embassy there in recognition of that in 2018. But adding Israel to a passport as "country of birth" was not immediately considered.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement this afternoon.
Effective immediately, the State Department will allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to elect to list their place of birth as “Israel.” Applicants born in Jerusalem will be able to request either “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth on consular documents. Those U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem who do not specify their place of birth on applications for consular services as “Israel” will continue to be issued documents that indicate their place of birth as “Jerusalem.” Other guidance on listing of place of birth in Israel, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the West Bank remains unchanged.Nevertheless, Pompeo stressed that the U.S. still takes no position on "the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
"The President’s Vision for Peace provides a realistic and achievable pathway for that peace to happen and I encourage the Palestinians to come to the table and negotiate," Pompeo said.
While Israel considers the entire city its “unified, eternal” capital, the Palestinians also want the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War in 1967.