Education, education, education.

No 'right to education' for Palestinians

The right to education is a fundamental human right - one not often honoured in the occupied Palestinian Territories, where thousands of students are blockaded by the Israeli authorities who refuse them the right to freedom of movement.

Rami Abdu, who last month succeeded in crossing the Rafah border to take up his PhD in finance at Manchester Metropolitan University, is one such victim. "I got a full scholarship to Manchester one and a half years ago. I tried to cross the border four times and I sent messages to human rights groups, but like many students I was unsuccessful.

"As the offer was only valid for a short period, I lost my scholarship. I reapplied to Manchester amongst other universities this year and after waiting for four days without sleeping at the border, I have become one of the lucky ones able to take up my place in England...

...Israeli prime minister-elect Tzipi Livni - foreign minister under Ehud Olmert - summed up Israel's official position in a letter on July 7: "The policy of not permitting exit abroad for students from Gaza is part of the Security Cabinet decision from October 19, 2007 which defined Gaza as a hostile entity and placed restrictions on the borders for passage of goods and movement of people... except for humanitarian cases." Israel declared Gaza a "hostile entity" after they failed to overthrow the elected government in an attempted coup, assisted by US-trained Fatah fighters during summer 2007.