Ramallah: The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has backed away from a move to issue Palestinian passports clearly marked as ‘State of Palestine’ documents following threats made by Israel that it would not allow holders of such passports to travel via the crossings Israel fully controls, a senior Palestinian official said.

In 2012, 138 countries at the UN General Assembly approved a resolution to upgrade the status of Palestine from an observer to a non-member state, a move that infuriated Israel. Afterwards, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued instructions stating that all Palestinian official documents including passports and identity cards should bear ‘State of Palestine’ logos.

Millions of copies of new biometric passports were ordered from France.

This is not the first time Israel has brought to bear undue pressure on the Palestinian National Authority over the issuance of passports.

In 1993, a major legal tussle erupted between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Israel over Israel’s insistence that the word ‘national’ be left out from the Palestinian National Authority. Israel argued that the word ‘national’ would suggest that the Palestinians had a homeland of their own. Under intense Israeli pressure, the Palestinians acquiesced.