Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ethan Bronner, "US Withdraws Fulbright Grants to Gaza," New York Times, May 30, 2008,

from Sam Bahour at ePalestine

Dear friends,

Remind me again why anyone in their right mind would believe that the U.S. can bring a lasting peace to the region when they can't even get six U.S.-bound students past an Israeli checkpoint?

If I had to guess, I think Israel may change their stance on this one...using their infamous posture of solving 6 individual cases to cover the war crime of collectively punishing of 1.5 million!

If you are in the U.S., maybe a letter to your representatives noting the absurdity of this move by our "strategic ally."

No illusions here,


GAZA — The American State Department has withdrawn all Fulbright grants to Palestinian students in Gaza hoping to pursue advanced degrees at American institutions this fall because Israel has not granted them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.

“If we are talking about peace and mutual understanding, it means investing in people who will later contribute to Palestinian society,” he said. “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?”

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.” Rabbi Melchior is from the Meimad Party, allied with Labor.

Read the rest at the New York Times.
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