Why is it important?

Many Palestinians in Gaza are unable to leave the territory to study abroad due to an inability to receive an exit permit from Israel to travel out of Gaza. This has resulted in unnecessary hardships and missed opportunities for Palestinians who are awarded admissions and scholarships to universities overseas, and also embarrassing and self-inflicted damage to Israel’s image, such as when the State Department withdrew Fulbright grants to Palestinians in Gaza because they could not get exit permits from the Israeli government.

Palestinians who study abroad develop the knowledge, opportunities, and networks to help improve the situation in Gaza once they return, and granting them exit permits is an easy way to build goodwill among Palestinians and demonstrate that Israel is able and willing to separate legitimate security concerns from a blanket policy of restrictions.

The Times of Israel:

More Gazans Now Allowed To Travel Abroad Via Israel, But There’s A Catch

Tens of Gazans crossed into Israel on Tuesday, July 25, travel permits in hand. As they prepared to board the weekly bus from the Erez Crossing to Amman, they were presented with an ultimatum: sign a form saying you won’t return home via Israel for at least year, or head back into Gaza.

With the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt closed for most of the year, the only way out for residents of the Strip is usually through Israel. Palestinians generally fly out of Amman to their desired destinations, since they are forbidden from flying out of Tel Aviv and there are no Palestinian airports.

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Thousands Of Palestinians In Limbo As Israel Doubles Wait Time For Exit Visas From Gaza

COGAT didn’t tell either Gisha or Haaretz how long ago these applications were filed. But the Palestinian civil affairs committee said 14,000 of the applications it has passed on to Israel since the start of the year have yet to receive a response. These include 3,052 applications by people over 60, 5,533 by merchants (including 400 over age 60) and 3,372 by people seeking to pass through Israel en route to Jordan (including 383 people over 60 and 315 students).

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Gisha: Students whose permit applications went unanswered by COGAT obtain last-minute exit permits thanks to Gisha