The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, has been utilizing a sophisticated global financing network to channel support from various charities and friendly nations. This intricate system allows them to transfer cash through tunnels in Gaza and even employ cryptocurrencies to evade international sanctions, as reported by experts and officials.
Recent events have brought Hamas’ financial operations into the spotlight. Following a violent episode involving Hamas gunmen, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis, mostly civilians, Israel retaliated with its most intense bombardment of Gaza in the last 75 years. This has further complicated Hamas’ access to funds.
Hamas’ Financial Web: A Detailed Overview
|Primary Funding Sources
|– Charities – Friendly nations
|Cash Transfer Methods
|– Through tunnels in Gaza – Electronic transfers
|– Used to bypass international sanctions – Transactions can be traceable due to crypto’s ledger system
|– Barclays bank account (allegedly linked to Hamas fundraising) was frozen by Israeli authorities
|– Over $300 million – Significant portion sourced from business taxes, countries, and charities
|– Iran (up to $100 million annually) – Qatar (around $30 million monthly)
|– International sanctions – Israeli interventions
|– Transparency of transactions – Recent decision to distance from crypto due to losses
|Other Financial Tactics
|– Use of credit cards – Fabricated trade deals
Earlier this week, Israeli authorities took action against Hamas’ financial operations. They froze a Barclays bank account allegedly linked to Hamas fundraising and also blocked several cryptocurrency accounts used for collecting donations. The exact number of accounts and their total value remain undisclosed.
This move by Israeli authorities has exposed a part of the vast and complex financial infrastructure that supports Hamas and its governance in the Gaza Strip since 2007. Matthew Levitt, an ex-U.S. official specializing in counterterrorism, estimates that a significant portion of Hamas’ budget, which exceeds $300 million, is sourced from business taxes, countries like Iran and Qatar, and various charities.
Diversion of Aid for Palestinians: A Detailed Overview
|Source of Aid
|Alleged Use in Terror Activities
|– Funds intended for humanitarian purposes – Infrastructure development funds
|– Purchase of weapons – Tunnel construction
|– Direct financial support – Support for infrastructure projects
|– Financing militant training – Procurement of arms and ammunition
|– Taxes collected from businesses and residents
|– Funding for Hamas’ military wing – Maintenance of militant facilities
|– Donations collected through crypto platforms
|– Bypassing international sanctions to fund operations
|– Funds for Gaza’s power plant – Support for needy families and public servants in the Hamas-led government
|– Alleged resale of fuel for profit, which is then used for militant activities
|– Annual support (up to $100 million)
|– Purchase of advanced weaponry – Support for militant activities
Hamas, which is labeled as a terrorist organization by nations including the United States and Britain, has been increasingly resorting to cryptocurrencies, credit cards, and fabricated trade deals to sidestep growing international restrictions. Tom Robinson, co-founder of blockchain research firm Elliptic, remarked, “Hamas has been one of the more successful users of crypto for the financing of terrorism.”
However, Hamas recently announced its decision to distance itself from cryptocurrencies after experiencing several losses. The transparency of cryptocurrency’s ledger system can make such transactions traceable, which poses risks for entities trying to maintain anonymity.
Despite the challenges, Hamas’ allies have consistently found ways to channel money to Gaza. The U.S. State Department revealed that Iran annually provides up to $100 million in support to Palestinian groups, including Hamas. This money is often moved through shell companies, shipping transactions, and even precious metals.
Furthermore, Qatar has been a significant contributor to Gaza since 2014, spending around $30 million monthly to operate Gaza’s only power plant and support impoverished families and public servants under the Hamas-led government.
In conclusion, Hamas’ financial operations are a testament to the group’s adaptability and resilience in the face of international sanctions and restrictions. As the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, the strategies employed by such groups to fund their terror activities will undoubtedly remain a topic of global interest and concern.
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