It's always satisfying to see the US State Department admit that it was wrong and Israel was right. There's a certain gratification in seeing the smugness wiped off of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's face when she has to do an about face in regards to an issue regarding Israel.
Let me give just a bit of background here. Back in June, Rice interfered in a security situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) in Gaza, (that's the portion controlled by the democratically-elected Hamas terrorist group). It seems that the United States had awarded Fulbright scholarships to several Arab students who lived in Gaza. Hamas took control of Gaza a year ago when the Fatah-controlled PA/PLO security police ran in fear to Judea and Samaria. When it came time for the students to leave Gaza to go to the US, Israel refused to let four of them leave, citing security reasons. Aside from humanitarian aid, Israel has kept its borders with Gaza closed in order to protect its citizens.
For those who are not aware, Israeli security is not like that in the United States. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces), along with other government security agencies, seeks to protect its citizens, even if it means, as in this case, someone loses out on an "education opportunity". In Israel, human life far outweighs any ones "rights" to an education. This doesn't mean that Israel tramples on individual's rights; rather it means that people suck it up and get over it. They understand what is really important.
Meanwhile, back to our story. Rice jumped in the middle of the situation and told Israel they needed to let these students go immediately so that they could travel to the United States for their advanced education. Rice told reporters, "I consider it extremely important for these young people to be able to take up their fellowships.... I consider it to be a very high priority to get this resolved," she said.
Now, in a world that has numerous conflicts and wars going on around the world at any given time, where disease, pestilence and famine are destroying whole nations, where man is destroying himself with his gluttony and excess, don't you think there are far more important things that the Secretary of State of one of the most powerful nations on earth should be more concerned with than someone getting an advanced college degree? Where are the priorities? (Please, it was a rhetorical question.)
Well, as usual (unfortunately), Rice threw her tantrum and Israel relented. First, however, Rice cancelled the scholarships, then, in a bit of fancy back pedaling, she reinstated them, saying they would be deferred until later. However, Israel eventually gave in and the students were issued visas to leave Gaza and go to the US to study for a year. So, Israel tries to protect its citizens, the US applies pressure in order to appease the Arab terrorists (whom they claim to be fighting), and Israel gives in. End of story, right?
No, not quite. It seems that the United States has now revoked the visas of those four students that Israel claimed were security risks. Why? Well, according to Acting US State Department Deputy spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos, it was done last week after "additional information" was received. According to Gallegos, "We decided that we needed to take a closer and harder look at them in light of the additional information we received". According to an MSNBC report, "another official familiar with the situation said the [additional] information [that was received] related to security issues that were behind the refusal by Israeli authorities to allow them to leave Gaza to be interviewed for visas at the US Consulate in Jerusalem in May. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns about visa records." One of the students was already at Dulles Airport, near Washington, D.C. He was quickly whisked away to Jordan.
And so now it seems that after throwing an international tantrum, Rice has to hang her head low in defeat. But not to worry ... she will make sure Israel pays during the upcoming 'peace' talks. Yes, Israel always pays for the mistakes of the nations.