When Israel re-captured East Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank and other territories, during the 6-Day War of 1967, it showed great consideration for the Palestinian inhabitants. Israel annexed E. Jerusalem, but instead of forcing the population to become Israeli citizens it gave them an id card that allowed them to travel throughout Israel to work, but they avoided possible attacks and violence by their politically motivated Palestinian brethren by not being identified with Israel.
However, over time (now 47 years), many Palestinian East Jerusalemites have become used to Israel, they grew up in this situation, but many of them now do not want to be identified with their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank or Gaza, who are often violent and dedicated to attacking Israelis and anyone who opposes them. So quite suddenly there has become a major trend among the 120,000 or so Palestinian E. Jerusalemites of applying for Israeli citizenship, which they are still allowed to do.
There have been lines gathering at the E. Jerusalem offices of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior with mainly young people applying for Israeli citizenship and especially registering their children for this. They know that they will be much better off, not only with Israel’s unemployment income, but also with Israel’s legal protections, notwithstanding a few crazy Jewish extremists. When they compare Israel’s economy and stability with that of the Palestine Authority and of the putative Palestine State, that Western liberals think is a necessity, they see the difference. They know that in Palestine, as elsewhere in the Arab world, there is no concept of a loyal opposition, if someone opposes you he must be eliminated. So there is not only enmity between Hamas that controls Gaza and Fatah that controls the West Bank, but almost every day there are explosions and car bombs in both places where they are trying to get rid of their opponents. The Jerusalem Arabs know this and are voting with their feet.
But, in order to be accepted as Israeli citizens they must pledge allegiance to Israel, which they are doing in their hundreds. Let’s hope this trend leads to more peaceful coexistence. Just the other day a Palestinian Arab drove his car deliberately into some Israeli soldiers, injuring three. The driver was shot but is in hospital. The terrorism continues.