An Australian man won a court battle to have "Palestine" officially recorded as his place of birth on his passport, in a move to defy the Australian government's policy toward Israel. Eberhard Frank, 79, filed a suit against the government after it was removed on his application last year, as reported by Australia's SBS News. He was born in 1940 in what was then called "British Mandated Palestine" and was naturalized by Australia in 1952.
The majority of U.N. members have already recognized Palestine as a sovereign state, with just 56 out of 193 nations still refraining to do so. Australia does not recognize the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza as a state and formally recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Last year, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly allowed the Palestinians to act more like a full U.N. member state during meetings in 2019 when they will chair the group of 77 developing nations. Australia, along with the U.S. and Israel, voted against the move, which won 146 votes in favor. The status of Jerusalem, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, is one of the biggest obstacles to a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians who hopes that East Jerusalem might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally. Last year, President Donald Trump also officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, making the U.S. the first nation to do so. A few months later the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was open to shifting the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv. Morrison's unexpected announcement was viewed cynically at the time because it came days before a crucial by-election in an electorate with strong Jewish representation.