Israel's isolation of the Gaza strip has prompted the US State Department to withdraw all Fulbright grants to Palestinian students. Because only those with the most urgent medical needs can leave the Hamas-run region, American officials are worried that their educational funding will be wasted on those that will not be able to leave to attend American institutions.
Fulbrights, educational grants awarded by the US government, fund international educational exchange, in order to foster mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of other countries.
One shocked Palestinian scholar views the decision as counterproductive to American and Israeli goals, as well as ultimate peace. To see what he told the New York Times and to find out if there is any possibility that visas will be granted, read more.
Abdulrahman Abdullah, whose scholarship was revoked, said:
If we are talking about peace and mutual understanding, it means investing in people who will later contribute to Palestinian society. I am against Hamas. Their acts and policies are wrong. Israel talks about a Palestinian state. But who will build that state if we can get no training?
Today, the State Department spokesman said that the US will try to "revisit the issue" with Israel. Dissenters within the Israeli government have called for a reconsideration of the isolation policy, as applied to students.
Is higher education a humanitarian concern? Do you think something can be worked out to help these students go abroad, and bring their experiences back to better Palestine?