The Associated Press reports: Amal Ashour, 18, loves Shakespeare and American pop music. One of the brightest students in the Gaza Strip, she studied her senior year of high school in Minnesota through a U.S.-government funded program.
She had planned to study English literature this fall at a university in the West Bank through another U.S.-sponsored program, but just a month before school started, she was informed the scholarship was no longer available.
“When you live in Gaza, you’re a pawn in a greater political game,” she said in a telephone interview. “There’s nothing we can do about it.” She is now enrolled at Islamic University, a stronghold of Gaza’s ruling Islamic militant Hamas.
Under Israeli pressure, U.S. officials have quietly canceled a two-year-old scholarship program for students in the Gaza Strip, undercutting one of the few American outreach programs to people in the Hamas-ruled territory. The program now faces an uncertain future, just two years after being launched with great fanfare by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a visit to the region. [Continue reading…]