Palestinians break taboo, seek Israeli citizenship

For the 300,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, identity is a complex issue.

They live in a part of the city Israel captured during the war of 1967, and now claims as its own.

But the Palestinians contest that claim.

While they are given permits for residency, they have historically rejected the chance to apply for Israeli citizenship...although that is beginning to change.

Researcher Amnon Ramon, says the latest figures show an increase in applications..up to a thousand per year, half of which are accepted.

The reason? Having citizenship makes life easier for those seeking basic services and looking to travel or work outside of East Jerusalem.

But commentators say it also reflects a loss of hope in ever securing an independent Palestinian state, and fears among Palestinians thatIsrael could revoke their permits at any time.

While they have the right to seek Israeli citizenship if they want, the majority of Palestinians still reject it in protest of Israel's 48-year occupation.

Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom says not many Palestinians have the courage to pursue Israeli citizenship, but says its a phenomenon that Israel should watch and follow.