Jerusalem (WiredPRNews.com) — Since 1946, the Fullbright Scholarship Program has granted nationals of other countries an opportunity to study abroad. Recently eight students in Gaza have been revoked of their scholarship by the U.S. government. In a letter to the students, the consulate explained that the U.S. government cannot finalize their scholarships for this year. The Israeli government’s strict travel restrictions in Gaza are the reason for the cancellation of the students’ scholarships. Travel restrictions have been in place since the terrorist organization Hamas took over the area last year. Stacey Barrios spokeswomen for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem said the scholarships will be presented to scholars in the West Bank.
Spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aryeh Mekel expressed that Israel’s primary concern is their security. Recent attacks on the border by Palestinian militants support Israel’s concern. Mekel also said that the Israeli government has made efforts to help Fullbright winners to travel. Mekel has said that some of the Fullbright scholars have been permitted to leave Gaza. The U.S. consulate in Jerusalem however could not verify Mekel’s statement. Fullbright scholars require exit visas from Israel to be allowed to go to the U.S. consulate for an interview as well as to travel to the United States. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said that U.S. officials are urging Israel to give exit visas to Fullbright winners in Palestine. Casey hopes these students are given the once in a lifetime opportunity to study abroad and further their education. Knowledge should not be wasted especially in world full of problems waiting to be solved.
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U.S. cancels Fullbright scholarships for Gaza students