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Palestinians break taboo, seek Israeli citizenship

4:28pm EDT - 01:47

More and more Palestinians with permanent residency in East Jerusalem are applying for Israeli citizenship -- while defying taboo. Gavino Garay reports.

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For the 300,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, identity is a complex issue. They live in a part of the city Israel captured during the war of 1967, and now claims as its own. But the Palestinians contest that claim. While they are given permits for residency, they have historically rejected the chance to apply for Israeli citizenship...although that is beginning to change. Researcher Amnon Ramon, says the latest figures show an increase in applications..up to a thousand per year, half of which are accepted. The reason? Having citizenship makes life easier for those seeking basic services and looking to travel or work outside of East Jerusalem. But commentators say it also reflects a loss of hope in ever securing an independent Palestinian state, and fears among Palestinians that Israel could revoke their permits at any time. This teacher asked not to be identified. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TEACHER, WHO ASKED NOT TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "It is not about being an Israeli or anything else but because I want to strengthen my presence in Jerusalem. It is my homeland, I was born here, I live here and I want to stay here and if they take my ID that means I can't stay here." While they have the right to seek Israeli citizenship if they want, the majority of Palestinians still reject it in protest of Israel's 48-year occupation. Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom says not many Palestinians have the courage to pursue Israeli citizenship...but says its a phenomenon that Israel should watch...and follow.

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Palestinians break taboo, seek Israeli citizenship

4:28pm EDT - 01:47