Israel to help Gaza students travel to the US for studies

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 |  staff writer

Seven Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip are hoping for visas to the United States so they can study overseas. The students have received the coveted American government Fulbright fellowships.

Israel agreed to help the students obtain exit visas from the sealed Gaza Strip so that they can get to Jerusalem to apply for American visas.

Osama Dawoud, an engineering instructor at the Palestine University in Gaza City, was nominated for a Fulbright scholarship to study environmental and water engineering. Because of travel restrictions around the Gaza Strip, Dawoud has to sometimes jump the fence between Gaza and EGypt in order to finish his masters degree in Jordan.

“None of the seven nominees of Fulbright are Hamas,” he said. “After a student completes his studies in the US, he must work two years in his country. I would like to come back. I have a lot of projects i want to do here. If these students come back to Gaza, this might provide a good future.”

Israel tightened the Gaza border after Hamas took over the coastal strip nearly a year ago. Only a very small number of Palestinians, mainly humanitarian cases, are allowed to leave. Israel says that travel restrictions are designed to prevent suicide bombings and other attacks.

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