Tuesday, March 3, 2009

USG Invites Two Palestinian Bloggers to Gaza Reconstruction Conference

This sounds like something new. The State Department invited two Palestinian journalists with popular blogs to attend the Gaza reconstruction conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, as the SecState's guests.

"We feel it's important to reach out and engage the new social media, and bloggers are a significant part of this new media," department spokesman Robert A. Wood said. "It's essential that the work of the State Department be disseminated as widely as possible, and they help get our message out."

One of the two, Fadi Abu Sada, was not allowed to enter Egypt. As a Palestinian under the age of 40, he needed an Egyptian visa, and had failed to get one. The other, Daoud Kuttab, was good to go since he's a Palestinian over the age of 40. And, although the above press report doesn't mention it, he's also a naturalized U.S. citizen, so I assume he could have entered Egypt on his good old U.S. passport.

Here's the report by the last Palestinian blogger left standing at the conference: My short meeting with Secretary Clinton.


hannah said...

Does Egypt have the same visa/passport rules that Israel has re. Palestinian-Americans? While standing in line at the King Hussein/Allenby bridge crossing a few months ago, I started chatting with a family of immigrants from Nablus who told me that the Israelis would not let them enter on their US passports and that they must use their Palestinian travel docs to enter the West Bank.

Not really relevant to the point of your story, I'm just curious.

TSB said...

Interesting about the Israeli restriction regarding dual nationals. I don't know whether Egypt has something similar. But now I'm wondering about other countries in the region and how they handle dual nationals.