Netherlands to recognise Gaza Strip and West Bank as birthplaces

Netherlands will allow those born after May 15, 1948 to use occupied Palestinian territories as official place of birth.

People hold a big Palestinian flag and signs during a demonstration against Israel''s military operations in Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 23 August 2
Before the new ruling Palestinians in the Netherlands had the option to list their birthplace as Israel or unknown [Koen van Weel/EPA]

The Dutch government has announced it will begin recognising the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as official birthplaces for Palestinians who were born in the country after the establishment of Israel.

While the Netherlands does not yet recognise the State of Palestine, it will recognise those Palestinian territories as the origin of birth for those born after May 15, 1948, when the British Mandate officially ended.

The announcement was made by Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops at The Hague.

According to an Interior Ministry release published on Saturday, Knops said the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank would be added to the list of territories that the Dutch civil registry accepts.

‘No sovereignty’

According to the statement, Knops noted the new category is in accordance with “the Dutch viewpoint that Israel has no sovereignty over these areas”, as well as the Netherlands’ refusal to recognise Palestine as a state.

He said the new category reflects the terms agreed upon in the Oslo Peace Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1990s and in subsequent United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The only options previously available to Palestinians in the Netherlands were “Israel” and “unknown” – the latter added as an option in 2014  because Palestinians protested against putting “Israel” down as their place of birth.

According to Dutch news agency Nos, the decision came after a Dutch man of Palestinian origin sued the Netherlands before the European Court of Human Rights, demanding his right to register as Palestinian-born, instead of as an Israeli.

At least 136 countries and the UN General Assembly have recognised Palestine as a sovereign state, but most of the European Union has refrained from doing so until one is declared within the framework of a peace agreement with Israel.

Source: Al Jazeera