A 23-year old Israeli who served in the Israeli army told reporters Thursday that he wants to renounce his Israeli citizenship and is seeking Palestinian citizenship. He hopes to live permanently in the occupied Palestinian territories, even though Israeli law bans Israelis from living in or even visiting the Palestinian Territories.Andre Pshenichnikov, a 23-year-old Jewish immigrant from Tajikistan was recently released from Israeli jail after he was arrested for living in the Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem. Israel prohibits its citizens to enter the Palestinian Authority controlled areas.
Pshenichnikov, who is currently traveling in Europe for two months, is planning to move to Deheishe upon his return to the country. The AP report added that Pshenichnikov wants to sever all his ties with Israel after he started to question Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinian people from what he observed during his three-year mandatory service and one and half additional years in the Israeli army.
‘I hate Zionism … I want to be part of the Palestinian resistance,’ Pshenichnikov told The AP. ‘I call for other Israelis who support the existence of a state of Palestine to do the same, to come live in the West Bank or Gaza as Palestinians.’
Among dozens of Israeli Jews who live in the occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of Israeli law, Pshenichnikov is the first Israeli to seek Palestinian citizenship.
Since Palestine is not a country yet, the Palestinian Authority does not grant anyone full citizenship – it issues Palestinian Identity card and Palestinian Passports only, but these must go through the Israeli government to be approved.