Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasHadas Parush/Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has notified Israel that it intends to begin issuing passports which bear the inscription “State of Palestine”, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.

Currently, passports issued to residents of the PA bear the inscription “the Palestinian Authority”.

A PA official quoted by Army Radio made clear that the move would go ahead even without Israel’s consent.

The PA has been making plans to issue passports for the “State of Palestine” for several years, ever since 2012, when the United Nations overwhelmingly voted in favor of upgrading the PA's status at the organization to that of a "non-member observer state".

At the time, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued guidelines ordering the PA government to re-issue passports, identity cards, registration documents, vehicle licenses, driver's licenses, stamps and postmarks with the name “State of Palestine” instead of Palestinian Authority.

But he later backed off from the plan, with his associates claiming Abbas feared that Israel would not recognize the new passports and not allow Palestinian Arabs to enter Israel through Israeli crossings.

In December during a visit to Greece, Abbas again announced plans to begin issuing passports for the “State of Palestine”, and added the plan will be implemented will happen in about a year at the most.