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Palestine (Naturalisation Applications)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 6 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as all aliens under British law who serve in His Majesty's Forces may, within a defined period, apply for British nationality including those who originate from mandated territories, why exception was made to would-be applicants serving in Palestine; whether he is aware that legislation for naturalising, voluntarily, inhabitants of mandated territories is effective in nearly all such territories, excluding Palestine; and will he introduce legislation to confer British nationality on the inhabitants of Palestine, the majority of whom have been anxious for it since the occupation by the British in 1917?

For the purpose of applications for naturalisation on the basis of Crown service, I am not aware that any distinction has been drawn between applicants serving in Palestine and those serving elsewhere, nor am I aware of the existence of any such legislation as that to which the hon. Member refers in the second part of the Question. Palestinian citizenship can be conferred by certificate of naturalisation granted by the High Commissioner to inhabitants of Palestine who are not already Palestinian citizens, provided that they satisfy the conditions laid down in the Palestinian Citizenship Orders. The answer to the last part of the Question is in the negative.