Travel restrictions hit Gaza students

Female students at the Islamic University in Gaza City
(Erica Silverman/IRIN)

Some 838 students formally offered places and/or enrolled at foreign universities are unable to leave Gaza, according to the Palestinian interior ministry and Gisha, an NGO campaigning for freedom of movement.

Of the 1,983 Gazan students in this position, only 1,145 have been able to leave Gaza since the beginning of 2009 due to a combination of travel restrictions and bureaucratic hurdles.

Many studying in the USA, for example, cannot get a US visa as they have been prevented by the Israeli authorities from travelling to the US consulate in Jerusalem.

According to Gisha, the criteria for departure set by Israel include obtaining a recognized scholarship and studying only in a country with diplomatic representation in Israel. Students who wish to leave through Israel must also be accompanied by a diplomatic representative.


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