Fullbright scholars refused permission to leave the Gaza outdoor prison.

Israel has given us a nice illustration of its policy toward Gaza.  In the blockade of Gaza, Israel has refused to let 7 Fullbright scholars out of Gaza to pursue their education in their chosen fields.  Therefore, the US State Dept. has rescinded their scholarships (wow, how supportive of the State Dept.).

The US state department has withdrawn its Fulbright scholarships from seven Palestinian students from Gaza because they are unable to obtain Israeli permission to leave the small strip of land.

The students were told in a letter from the US consulate general in Jerusalem, dated Thursday and seen by the Guardian, that the state department “will not be able to finalise your Fulbright Student Scholarship for 2008”. No explanation was given, but the students were told to apply again next year, when they would be given “priority consideration” but with no guarantee that the scholarships would be awarded again.


Gaza is a prison.  Israel has imprisoned an entire nation and only lets out of jail those it wishes to let out such as 60 residents of Beit Hanun who recently rounded up and taken away prisoners into Israel.  However, to further education, they cannot let students out. 

One student is asking former Prime Minister Blair for help in getting out:


Since this is becoming an international stink, the US is getting involved and is pressuring Israel to let the scholars go:


After this pressure, Israel is apparently revisiting its policy to possibly let students leave Gaza:


Israeli officials claim that they let out only humanitarian cases, but there are apparently 171 people now who would dispute that assertion:

Medical sources said on Friday that a sick citizen died as being refused by Israeli Occupation Authorities to leave the Gaza Strip for proper medical treatment.


Go figure.


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