The State Department has taken Fulbright scholarships away from eight students in Gaza, because of Israeli travel restrictions imposed on the Hamas-ruled part of the Palestinian territory.
Sounds like a PR disaster for Israel and the US due to the lack of cooperation among bureaucratic. The New York Times talks about "longstanding tensions" between the US consulate in Jerusalem and the embassy in Tel Aviv and also says that the Israeli defense department and prime minister's office disagree whether a Fulbright grant is a "humanitarian necessity."
How shall there be any economic and political development in Gaza as well as some pro-American sentiment, if students are not allowed to leave the Gaza
prison strip? The New York Times also points out:
Some Israeli lawmakers, who held a hearing on the issue of student movement out of Gaza on Wednesday, expressed anger that their government was failing to promote educational and civil development in a future Palestine given the hundreds of students who had been offered grants by the United States and other Western governments.
"This could be interpreted as collective punishment," complained Rabbi Michael Melchior, chairman of the Parliament's education committee, during the hearing. "This policy is not in keeping with international standards or with the moral standards of Jews, who have been subjected to the deprivation of higher education in the past. Even in war, there are rules."
Related posts in the Atlantic Review:
UPDATE: Open Letter by Fulbrighters: Reinstate Fulbright Grants to Students in Gaza
The Petition Site: Help Palestinian Fulbright Grantees Get Exit Visas from Israel.
UPPERDATE: The BBC reports that the State Department has reinstated Fulbright grants. (HT: Omar)