Forgive me for not providing the link right here, but just read an article in today’s NYTIMES about the State Department revoking its Fulbright scholarship grants to a number of Palestinian students in Gaza. The reason? Because Israel is unwilling to let students leave the region as a punishment to the controlling Hamas militant group. The US State Department has subsequently determined that providing the scholarships is a potential waste of money and resources.

Are you kidding me? Let me get this straight: the state of Israel has instituted a law that prohibits bright, progressive Palestinian students who have earned scholarships to attend higher institutes of learning in the US from leaving their lands. And the State Department’s response to this is to simply turn their cheek and obliquely endorse this ignominy by pulling the whole scholarship program? It’s so infuriating, I am at a loss for words.
It’s been some time – about 5 years – since I last visited Israel and the Occupied territories, but sadly, all I believe I have missed is more of the same. More violence instigating more violence. More suicide bombings by Islamic martyrs inspired by Israeli imperialists terrorizing and dehumanizing Palestinian citizens that in turn instigate more brazen terror attacks by Islamic martyrs that result in harsher punishments from Israeli imperialists that spur more terror attacks and on and on and on. Sound familiar? Islamic terror organizations (Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa) undermining their own people. Extremist Jews undermining progressive Israeli citizens. Fascist archaic rogue regimes in Iran, Syria, Saudi, and Egypt that are complicit in fueling conflict between Arabs and Israelis for their own diabolical self-interest.
And oh wait – perhaps the worst and most complicit of them all – the US government’s unfathomable and inexplicable support of Israeli policy that so overtly aggravates the endless blood feud between Arabs and Israelis.
Just think about it for a second: what is the single semi-reasonable solution to ending this bloodbath, one that pits two sides that both see themselves as victims, where conflicts from 48, 65, 72 and two intifadahs in the last 10 years have spawned a legacy of anger, resentment, humiliation, and retribution that plays out in cafes in Jerusalem and alleyways in the West Bank day after day? Having been there myself several times – walking the lonely streets of Bethlehem after curfew, dodging sniper bullets in Jenin where unemployment amongst adult men is 85%, waiting in endless traffic jams at checkpoints in Ramallah – I’ll tell you that the start of a solution comes with educating and enabling a new generation of Arabs with the skills to transform their own people and communities into self-sustaining members of society and prosperous economies such that the Palestinian territories can become something other than hotzones for terrorist breeding.
Alternatively, what’s a surefire way to demoralize and antagonize another generation of Arabs to hate Israelis and Americans (and in doing so perpetuate this endless conflict)?
Take away hope.
Isolate and imprison them in their depressed economies and vitriolic communities.
Endorse Israeli policy that de-humanizes and condemns tomorrow’s Palestinian leaders.
Congratulations America, you’re in the process of buying yourself another two decades of worth of bloodshed in the so-called “Holy Land.”
Please think again on this one.

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