A Palestinian high tech executive has been denied permission to enter Israel to attend an executive MBA program run by Northwestern University, an Israeli advocacy group said Monday.
Saed Hasan, 32, a manager at Global Software in Ramallah, was accepted to the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA program, run jointly by Northwestern University and Tel Aviv University. But the military has refused a request by Tel Aviv University to give Hasan a permit, saying that Palestinian students may not enter Israel.
Israel has previously cited security concerns as the reason for the restrictions. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on the latest case.
The Gisha Center, an Israeli group dealing with travel restrictions against Palestinians, has filed a court petition on behalf of Hasan. The court has ordered the military to answer the petition by Wednesday. If the military does not reverse the ban, Hasan will lose his place in the MBA class, set to begin next week, Gisha said.
Hasan told The Associated Press that he originally applied and was accepted to the program in 2006, but lost his place in last year's class because of the ban. He received a special scholarship for Palestinian students.
Unique programIn several different hearings, Gisha has told Israel's high court that the ban violates the rights of Palestinian students to access Israeli academic institutions.
The joint Northwestern-Israeli MBA program at Tel Aviv University consists of 74% Israeli students, 8% Palestinian, in addition to other nationalities, according to the program's website. Most other Palestinian students have permits because of their jobs, which generally require travel in Israel, said Orit Mendelson, director of the program.
Hasan, founder of a firm that deals with cellular telephone technology, described the program as "unique, because it allows participants to meet executives from economically strong neighboring countries, like Israel."
Hasan said the program's flexible schedule of classes would allow him to continue his career. "I don't want to quit my job," he said.