Gaza Fulbright scholars meet US visa officials at Gaza border

US visa officials drove to the Gaza border Thursday to meet with three Fulbright scholars from Gaza - going to unusual lengths to work around an Israeli travel ban that jeopardized their prestigious US government scholarships. Israel denied entry to the three Palestinian university students, thus preventing them from traveling to the US Consulate in Jerusalem to apply for their visas. Instead, US officials, carrying fingerprinting equipment for the visa applications, drove to the Erez Crossing on the Israel-Gaza border Thursday and met with the Gaza students. Students cannot apply for US visas in Gaza because Washington does not recognize the territory's Hamas government. Thursday's complex procedure highlighted the difficulties faced by Gaza students who have been accepted at universities abroad but cannot leave because of Israeli and Egyptian travel bans, imposed after the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza last year.