U.S. cancels Fulbright scholarships for Gaza students

Posted on May 30, 2008


From Kevin Flower
CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief

JERUSALEM (CNN) — The U.S. government has taken Fulbright scholarships away from eight students in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, citing Israeli travel restrictions imposed on the Hamas-ruled zone, a U.S. official said Friday.

Israel maintains tight control of the border with Gaza in such checkpoints as the Erez Crossing, here in December.

The scholarships, which bring international students to the United States to study at American universities, will be given to students in the West Bank, said Stacey Barrios, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

Barrios said the scholarships were taken away because of restrictions that the Israeli government placed on travel in and out of Gaza.

Israel maintains tight control of the border with Gaza and has imposed an embargo on the movement of people and goods since Hamas took over the territory last year.

The Islamic movement has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Israel, the United States and the European Union have designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

U.S. officials are pressing Israel to give exit visas to Palestinians who have won Fulbright scholarships, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday.

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