May 29, 2008


U.S. Rescinds Fulbright Scholarships to Gaza Students Only Helps Hamas

Filed under: General — No To Terror @ 11:14 pm

U.S. State Department just withdrew the Fulbright Scholarships that it gave to Palestinian students living in Gaza who were going to study for advanced degrees in America.

The Times report suggests that the State Department is blaming Israel, saying that they withdrew the scholarships because Israel has not granted Gaza students permission to leave.

Abdulrahman Abdullah, one Gaza student who was awarded a Fulbright, candidly told a Times reporter: “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?”

Abdullah told the paper that he wanted to use the award to study for an MBA at one of a number of American universities.

Some Israeli lawmakers immediately expressed shock at the U.S. action.

“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.”

More telling of the U.S. Administration’s screw-up is that, according to senior officials from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office, American officials never even contacted them about rescinding the Gaza students’ Fulbright cases. They told the Times that if the U.S. had made them aware of the situation affecting Gaza students awarded Fulbright scholarships, they would facilitate them.

The most telling criticism came from Natan Sharansky, the respected former refusenik and former Israeli government official:

“We correctly complain that the Palestinian Authority is not building civil society, but when we don’t help build civil society this plays into the hands of Hamas…The Fulbright is administered independently, and people are chosen for it due to their talents.”

The U.S. committed what Israelis would term a fashla, a foul-up using the strongest possible Hebrew vernacular.

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