Some 50,000 Palestinians, most of them from the Gaza Strip, have been granted
Egyptian citizenship over the past few months, an Egyptian security official
The official said that the Egyptian Interior Ministry
had been instructed to give Egyptian citizenship to all Palestinians who were
born to Egyptian mothers.
The official, who was not identified, told the
Egyptian newspaper El-Watan
that the instructions came from the country’s High
Administrative Court in Cairo last May. The official pointed out that the number
of Palestinians who have received Egyptian citizenship increased dramatically
after the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt now occupies second
place – after Jordan – in granting citizenship to Palestinians.
decision paved the way for thousands of Palestinians, particularly those living
in the Gaza Strip, to apply for and receive Egyptian passports.
recently, Egypt, like most Arab countries, had refused to grant citizenship to
Palestinians in accordance with an Arab League resolution dating back to
According to the resolution, “Palestinians who are residing in the
Arab countries are given, upon their request, valid travel documents. The
concerned [Arab] authorities must, wherever they be, issue these documents or
renew them without delay.”
The Arab countries have justified their
refusal to grant citizenship to Palestinians by arguing that they wish to
protect the Palestinian identity and ensure their return to their original homes
The Egyptian official also revealed that Cairo was now
studying the request of an additional 35,000 Palestinians to receive Egyptian
He predicted that by 2013 the number of Palestinians who
would have received Egyptian citizenship would rise to 100,000.
Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, disclosed earlier this year that
he too had become an Egyptian national thanks to the fact that he had been born
to an Egyptian mother.