The Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza have issued new regulations for visitors who intend to visit the region.
According to an announcement posted on a Hamas website late Sunday, beginning Tuesday foreigners must obtain a visa to enter the territory.
Applications must be submitted via the Internet, or through a local sponsor at least one week prior to the intended date of entry. Visas are valid for one month, regulations state.
The rules will apply to most international aid workers and activists, according to the announcement.
Foreign journalists will apparently face a separate set of procedures, which have yet to be determined.
Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, however, will still be unable to enter the territory, with or without a visa, as his security cannot be guaranteed. Abbas has been unable to enter Gaza since the end of the bloody militia war in which Hamas seized control of the region in June 2007.
Although Gaza is completely separate from the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria ruled by Fatah, it has, until now, been loosely considered to be part of the greater Palestinian Authority.
As such, the Ramallah-based government has continued to pay for “government salaries” – including those of Hamas terrorists -- in Gaza. In addition, the PA government pays a generous monthly wage to PA Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israel.
The Ramallah government has, until now, been largely supported by foreign aid donations, including from the United States.
The move, calculated to circumvent direct negotiations for a final status agreement with Israel, incensed the United States, which vowed to veto the measure in the Security Council.
In addition, an U.S. Congress made good on a threat to cut funding to the entity. However, it is not yet clear what, if any, effect this may have since Saudi Arabia and the European Union stepped in with rescue funds for the PA.