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Foreign journalists up in arms over excessive Hamas charges

The Foreign Press Association in Israel is “deeply disturbed” by Hamas raising the fee for registration of armored cars used by journalists covering the Gaza Strip, calling the new prices “excessive.”

In the past, authorities in Gaza applied the same fee for armored cars as for other vehicles with the same size and type of engine, namely NIS 2,100 ($538) a year for a diesel vehicle. Hamas officials are now impounding foreign news organizations’s armored cars and demanding NIS 4,000 a year.

Palestinian boys simulate an attack on an Israeli car during a show as part of an anti-Israel rally on February 26, 2016, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. (AFP/SAID KHATIB)
Palestinian boys simulate an attack on an Israeli car as part of an anti-Israel rally on February 26, 2016, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. (AFP/SAID KHATIB)

“In July last year, representatives from the FPA met with Hamas officials in Gaza, including the deputy minister for transport, and it was agreed that the usual 2,100 shekel fee would be applied, with the deputy minister citing the PA’s own Transport Ministry legal guidelines. That agreement is not being respected,” reads a statement released on the group’s website.

“We call on the Hamas authorities to respect their own laws and previous commitments. News organizations are prepared to pay the legal fee to operate vehicles on Gaza’s roads, but will not submit to excessive fees that appear to have no basis in law.”

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