The United States has revoked the visas of three Palestinian Fulbright scholars whose cases were taken up personally by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after Israel refused to let them leave Gaza for interviews, US officials said Monday.
Visas for the three, along with a fourth Palestinian student from Gaza who had hoped to come to the US under a different program, were approved after Rice intervened in June but were rescinded last week when "new information" about them was received, the officials said.
"There were four Palestinians who were issued visas about whom we then received additional information," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said. "We decided that we needed to take a closer and harder look at them in light of the additional information we received."
He said the visas were canceled under a "prudential revocation" clause in immigration rules that allows them to be rescinded based on information gleaned about the holders after they were issued. It does not preclude the applicants from reapplying for visas in the future, he said.
I wrote about the US State Departments creation of the Fullbright fiasco last June. While it is true the Israeli government does not issue blanket exit visas for Gazans; it is also true that the Israeli government would review a request on a case-by-case basis if the US State Department had taken the time to request a review in the first place. Of course, the US State Department could have also appealed to the Egyptians for the Gazans exit visas, but, well…..much better to blame ….