Sunday, May 8, 2011

Egyptian mother, Palestinian father? You're Egyptian!

Egyptian Interior Minister Mansour al-Issawi announced last week that Egypt will grant citizenship to children of Egyptian women married to Palestinian men. Previously, the Egyptian nationality law permitting Egyptian mothers to pass on Egyptian citizenship featured an amendment to exclude Palestinians. In 1957, the Arab League pressured Arab states to withhold citizenship from Palestinians, supposedly to protect their national identity.  

According to Tasir Khaled, head of the Palestinian Authority's expatriate department, Egypt is home to 100,000 Palestinians, many of whom moved prior to the 1948 war. Many in Egypt hail the decision as an end to discrimination against persons of Palestinian descent in Egypt, while others see it as a victory for women's rights. Under the previous law, children of Palestinian women married to Egyptian men were granted Egyptian citizenship.

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