Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Gaza Seven

It's hardly the most important issue in the region, but this business of the Gaza Seven is really the sort of thing where a bit of effort on everyone's part should push the Bush administration to push Israel to let those students use the fellowships they have earned:
"The American State Department has withdrawn all Fulbright grants to Palestinian students in Gaza hoping to pursue advanced degrees at American institutions this fall because Israel has not granted them permission to leave.

"Israel has isolated this coastal strip, which is run by the militant group Hamas. Given that policy, the United States Consulate in Jerusalem said the grant money had been “redirected” to students elsewhere out of concern that it would go to waste if the Palestinian students were forced to remain in Gaza.

"A letter was sent by e-mail to the students on Thursday telling them of the cancellation. Abdulrahman Abdullah, 30, who had been hoping to study for an M.B.A. at one of several American universities on his Fulbright, was in shock when he read it."

Israel's stance toward these students under its authority is indefensible, and the apparent American acquiesence cowardly.

UPDATE: The scholarships have been reinstated. On the American end of things, this sounds like it was bureaucracies on automatic creating a problem rather than conscious decision-making.



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