What does it mean when the State Department revokes Palestinians' Fulbright scholarships? That they do not want to "interfere with Israel's sovereignty" so as not to offend its "friends" here? Although even some of its friends disagree this time. I realize they were reinstated. Did they not want to be to the right of Natan Sharansky (insert sarcasm, I know they don't care)? I know someone pro-Palestinian who worked in the State Department for years and never got anywhere...
"For some time there have been concerns that Israel's policy aimed at isolating Hamas' government in the Gaza Strip is turning into a practice of punishing the Gaza population, which is both morally wrong and politically shortsighted," according to Debra DeLee, president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now, a Zionist organisation dedicated to enhancing Israeli's security through peace.
"The current case is a stark illustration of this pattern," she said.
The dovish pro-Israel group Israeli Policy Forum also sent an urgent memo to Congressmen Friday, calling on them to demand that the State Department reverse the decision.
Wrote M.J. Rosenberg: "The State Department's decision is reportedly based on the Israeli policy of blockading Gaza. But officials in both countries seem ambivalent, if not confused, by this decision."
"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," said Natan Sharansky, a former Israeli government official and inspiration for President Bush's ambitious "freedom agenda".