Hamas announces new visa procedures for Gaza visitors

Tourists, would-be foreign residents now required to seek approval from Hamas-run Interior Ministry before entering the Strip.

October 10, 2011 15:05
1 minute read.
Hamas policeman checks passport at Rafah border

Hamas policeman checks passport at Rafah border 311 (R). (photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)

The Hamas Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced on Monday that foreigners wishing to visit the coastal enclave will be required to obtain an entry visa from the ministry.

In a notice posted on the Interior Ministry's English-language website, regulations requiring registration for both short- and long-term visitors were published just one day before coming into effect.

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According to the new regulations, any foreigner must apply to the Hamas Ministry of the Interior's General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs one week prior to their arrival in the Strip for a one-month visa. Anyone wishing to stay more than one week, it says, must go through additional procedures "to regulate their residence within the territories of the Gaza Strip.

Foreign journalists, recently required by the Hamas government to be accompanied by regime-approved "minders," will have separate procedures and regulations issued by the Hamas government's media office.

At the same time as new restrictions on visitors were implemented, however, the Hamas statement also recognized "the important role" played by foreign visitors and residents "in supporting the cause of the Palestinian people" in social, economic and media realms.

The ministry, it said, "is keen" to "facilitate and ensure the entry and departure or residence and foreign visitors" to the Strip.

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