U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem will now be able to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday, in a nod to Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The future status of Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, remains at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his statement on Thursday, Pompeo said the decision to allow Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens to choose to enter Israel or Jerusalem as their birthplace was "consistent" with Trump's 2017 proclamation.
The Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as capital of the future state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza, cried foul.
Trump "is trying to write off Palestinian rights," Wasel Abu Youssef of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation told Reuters, accusing the U.S. president of trying to "encourage Evangelists and Jewish Americans to step up voting for him."
Pompeo's announcement comes just one day after the U.S. announced it would now allow funding and cooperation in scientific research with the Ariel University situated inside a West Bank settlement.
In the ceremony on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Trump administration was rejecting the failed mantras of the past, " It opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the US,” the prime minister said.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman who also hailed the move said: “We are righting an old wrong and strengthening yet again the unbreakable bond between our two countries.”
First published: 18:06, 10.29.20