Friday, 16 November 2007

Israel Will Allow 6 Palestinian Students to Cross Border for Education

November 16, 2007

Jerusalem -- ­ Six Palestinian students denied permission to enter Israel in order to attend a higher-education institute have finally been granted entry permits on the orders of the Israeli Supreme Court. The students were victims of a blanket ban imposed by the Israeli army on all Palestinians applying for study at Israeli colleges.

After a yearlong delay, the Supreme Court this month rejected the army’s sweeping criteria and ordered the Israeli Government Coordinator of Activities in the occupied territories to review each Palestinian student’s application on an individual basis.

The six students had been admitted to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which is affiliated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in the southern part of the country. The institute brings together Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and other Arab students and academics to study regional environmental issues.

In the past, Israeli security officials have said that Palestinians wishing to enter that area of Israel require special permission because of various sensitive security installations nearby.

“We resubmitted our request for the permits immediately after the ruling, and reminded the coordinator of the Supreme Court decision,” said Michael Lehrer, the institute’s director. “I understand that they sent the names to Israeli security services to check that each person had no connection to any terrorist organizations. On Wednesday they called and told us all six permits had been granted.”

Mr. Lehrer said the students could decide whether they preferred to join the course now, with a third of the semester already passed, or to defer to the spring semester in the hope that permits for that period would be issued on time. ­ Matthew Kalman

Posted on Friday November 16, 2007 | Permalink |

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