US to allow Americans born in Jerusalem to list ‘Israel’ on their passports

Applicants born in Jerusalem will be able to request either “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth on consular documents.”

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Dome of the Rock. (Michael Freeman—Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has announced that Americans born in Jerusalem can request to have Israel listed on their US passports as their birthplace.

In a statement released today, The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said: “Effective immediately, the State Department will allow US 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.”

“Other guidance on listing the place of birth in Israel, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the West Bank remains unchanged.”

He added that the US “remains strongly committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”

Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood, in Jerusalem. (Heidi Levine / for NBC News)

The policy change comes less than a week before the US election, and as US President Donald Trump touts himself as one of the most pro-Israel presidents to date.

Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and moved the US embassy to the occupied city from Tel Aviv.

Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has said he would not reverse that policy.

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Sarah Stern, founder and head of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), said this development “shows America has not only recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel by moving the embassy but that American nationals born in Jerusalem will no longer be stateless.”

In 2015, the American Supreme Court struck down part of a federal statute that allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to record their location of birth as “Israel” on their passport.

Jerusalem’s status was to be resolved as part of bilateral peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials under a plan that envisioned two nations for two peoples. However, Trump has repeatedly undercut the prospects for such a deal.

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