Has Gaza Become A Separate Nation? - Inside Israel

Passport photos (illustrative)
Gaza's Hamas rulers have imposed new entry restrictions requiring most foreigners to obtain a visa to enter the coastal territory, a move that could restrict the work of some international aid organizations. Foreigners - mostly aid workers and pro-Palestinian activists - will now have to apply online or through a local sponsor a week in advance to obtain a monthlong visa, according to information posted on the Hamas Interior Ministry website late Sunday. Information posted on the Hamas website said the new procedures would take effect on Tuesday.
(Photo(BND/AP)) A Palestinian teacher covers her head during a protest in the Untied Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City, Wednesday Oct. 5, 2011. A teachers' strike has closed U.N.-run schools in the Gaza Strip for a day on Wednesday and escalated a long-simmering conflict between the territory's Hamas rulers and a U.N. agency. The strikers are protesting the three-month suspension of the leader of a teachers' union by UNRWA for alleged political activity linked to Hamas.
Hamas may have pre-empted the PA statehood bid with one of its own, creating facts on the ground in Gaza. A visa is now required to enter.By Chana Ya'ar
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.
Hamas, which opposed the PA's recent bid for statehood at the United Nations, was quick to condemn the speech by Abbas at the recent session of the U.N. General Assembly.
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.

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