Netherlands to recognise Gaza Strip and West Bank as birthplaces

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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 start to recognise 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 Organisation 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 addad as an option in 2014 because Palestinians had protested against putting Israel 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 in the framework of a peace agreement with Israel.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

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