Israel Eases Restrictions on U.S.-Bound Gazan Travelers

GAZA CITY (AP) -

Israel has launched a new shuttle service for Gazans who need to travel to the U.S. Consulate in Yerushalayim — briefly easing one of the restrictions it places on Palestinians who want to exit the blockaded territory.

For security reasons Israel allows only a small number of Gazans to travel through Israel — mostly for medical care or other humanitarian grounds.

In recent months, it has barred Gazans from entering Israel for visa interviews at the U.S. Consulate after some applicants fled into hiding in Israel or Yehudah and Shomron to seek work. That has prevented several hundred people from applying at the Consulate for visas to travel or study in the U.S.

About 100 Palestinians traveled Wednesday to Yerushalayim on the shuttle service.