Mike Pompeo
Mike PompeoReuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that 'Israel' will be permitted to be listed on the passports of citizens born in Jerusalem, reversing decades of US policy.

Until now, US passport holders born in Jerusalem could not list their country of birth as Israel even if they were born in western Jerusalem due to US policy that the status of Jerusalem was to be determined in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by parents of children born in Jerusalem demanding that they be permitted to have Israel listed as their place of birth on their passports.

However, in 2017, US President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also relocated the American embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018, ending US policy that refused to recognize any part of Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel.

The change in passport policy comes as the US officially dropped its opposition Wednesday to funding joint research projects in Israel which are conducted in Judea, Samaria, or the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met at Ariel University in Samaria Wednesday to sign an agreement on scientific cooperation Wednesday, paving the way for US funding of Israeli projects regardless of their location.

The new agreement nullifies limitations imposed in the 1970s on US-Israeli research cooperation which included a territorial clause, barring the US from providing funding for projects which went beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem announced Wednesday that the two sides had signed amended versions of three research agreements, ending the geographic restrictions.

The following is the official statement by Secretary Pompeo:

Consistent with President Trump’s Jerusalem Proclamation of December 6, 2017, and the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, today I am announcing updates to the Department’s guidance on passports and other consular documents issued to U.S. citizens. Effective immediately, the State Department will allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to elect to list their place of birth as “Israel.” Applicants born in Jerusalem will be able to request either “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth on consular documents. Those U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem who do not specify their place of birth on applications for consular services as “Israel” will continue to be issued documents that indicate their place of birth as “Jerusalem.” Other guidance on listing of place of birth in Israel, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the West Bank remains unchanged.

As the President stated in his proclamation, the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its seat of government but continues to take no position on the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. This matter remains subject to final status negotiations between the two Parties. The United States remains strongly committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement. The President’s Vision for Peace provides a realistic and achievable pathway for that peace to happen and I encourage the Palestinians to come to the table and negotiate.