U.K. Lists 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' Instead of Jerusalem on British-Israeli's Passport

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Ayelet Balaban's new British passport
Ayelet Balaban's new British passport Credit: Kan public broadcaster

A dual British-Israeli Jewish citizen who renewed her passport found her place of birth listed as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” on the travel document, despite it having previously stated that she was from Jerusalem.

In an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Ayelet Balaban said that she was initially perplexed and believed the new toponym to be the result of a mistake.

“I thought that maybe they were confused, because I live in a moshav [community] of Jewish evacuees from Gaza,” she said, although it is not her place of birth.

“How do I get around with a passport like this? This is my private passport,” she complained.

According to Balaban, her brother’s passport, which was issued two years ago, still lists his place of birth as Jerusalem, indicating that any possible change in British policy would have been instituted recently.

She said that she had reached out to Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Ambassador in London as well as aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh and has yet to receive any answers.

According to the website of the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, the U.K. has long “withheld recognition of sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a final determination of its status.”

The British government recognizes “Israel’s de facto authority over West Jerusalem” but regards East Jerusalem “as under Israeli occupation.”

Kan has reached out to the Israeli foreign ministry, who said they are investigating the incident. Kan also reached out to the British embassy in Israel, who have not yet responded. 

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