REYKJAVIK, (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday she would investigate a report that the State Department had withdrawn coveted scholarship grants to Palestinian students in Gaza.
A report in the International Herald Tribune newspaper said the State Department had withdrawn Fulbright scholarships to Palestinian students hoping to pursue advanced degrees at American institutions this fall, because Israel had not granted permission for the students to leave Gaza.
The newspaper, the global edition of The New York Times, said seven Gazans had been notified of the cancellation. The report said Israel’s restriction was in keeping with its policy of isolating Gaza, which is run by the militant group Hamas. “I had not known this, and I’ll look into it,” Rice told reporters on her plane while flying from Stockholm, where she attended an international conference on Iraq. “Perhaps there are reasons, but I want to look into why this has happened,” she said.
Fulbright grants are the U.S. flagship programme in international educational exchange and are used to help promote a better understanding of U.S. values abroad.