Israel eases restrictions on US-bound Gazan travelers

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

Israel allows only a small number of Gazans to travel through Israel — mostly for medical care or other humanitarian grounds. It cites security considerations for the tight restrictions.

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 the West Bank 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 Jerusalem on the shuttle service.