Palestine Certificate Of Naturalization 1942
Without this document you could not get a British Palestine passport or ID card so it’s related to passport history. To find such a document is unusual I would say. How many Palestinians will still have today such a old Certificate of Naturalization? I guess not many. The document is issued in three languages (English, Hebrew and Arabic).
The documents was issued to Kurt Fröhlich, born in Poland but he was German national. The document states he owns a laundry shop. Kurt was married to Ruth Fröhlich nee Lowitsch. Her picture is also on the naturalization document. Does this means the wife automatically became Palestinian citizen too? See Palestinian Citizenship Order…
The King of England passed the Palestine Citizenship Order-in-Council one year after the Lausanne Treaty and its provisions officially came into force on 1 August 1925. This was the only such citizenship order enacted by Great Britain in any of their mandates or territories at that time; in Iraq and Transjordan, local Arab authorities enacted nationality legislation and had their own official representation to the British mandatory. In Britain’s African mandates, inhabitants remained British-protected persons. Just like the other imperial orders, the Citizenship Order was enacted by the British Government, not by the Government of Palestine.
It is interesting to note that until the middle of 1924, the order-in-council draft to regulate Palestinian citizenship was titled the Palestinian Nationality Order-in-Council. Only in May did colonial officials recommend this be changed to the Palestinian Citizenship Order-in-Council to avoid complications. By July, the draft order had ‘nationality’ crossed out and replaced with ‘citizenship’. Only shortly before the order passed, the Colonial Office changed ‘subject’ to ‘citizen’ in all places and made a note that ‘national’ in the Treaty of Lausanne meant both subject and citizen in the Citizenship Order. A short article written fifteen years later by the former Attorney General of Palestine Norman Bentwich (who drafted much of Palestine’s citizenship legislation through 1930) offered an explanation grounded in orientalism. Bentwich noted that citizen and citizenship replaced national and nationality in the final order because of the ‘Oriental’ difference of the terminology. In oriental countries, citizenship marked the allegiance to a state whereas membership of nationality was a matter of race and religion. Both Arabs and Jews were equally Palestinian citizens, wrote Bentwich, but they both claimed to have separate Arab or Jewish nationality.
The Palestine citizenship order did not grant Palestinian citizens the rights they agitated for as citizens: control over their own government or rights to their borders, treaties, educational affairs, public works, election laws, taxation and tithe rates or trade laws.
The British amended the order several times before the end of the mandate, but the amendments reflected the problems the law posed for the Jewish immigrants – the amendments rarely benefited the Arabs. In the 1930’s, the British made changes to their legislation that effectively allowed all native Palestinians to obtain naturalization provided they returned from abroad and resided permanently in Palestine.
Citizenship in Palestine came only as a legal certificate of status and did not convey Great Britain’s own liberal, republican or ‘occidental’ citizenship. Nationality remained in sharp contrast with legal citizenship in the discourses of the Palestinians. What was clear to the Palestinians was that the ultimate power to decide on their legal identity lay with the British Empire. The only solution – the exit of the British from Palestine in 1947 – came in exchange for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the cancellation of any internationally-recognized Palestinian citizenship.
This article is an edited extract of ‘The creation of Palestinian citizenship under an international mandate: legislation, discourses and practices, 1918–1925’ which appeared in the Citizenship Studies 2012 special issue ‘Citizenship after orientalism: an unfinished project’. The referenced and complete essay can be found here. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° 249379.