Hamas funding: Five uneasy questions
October 31, 2023: The Palestine crisis is still snowballing. A deadly tit-for-tat is underway. Hamas started the crisis with a massacre on October 7, and Israeli forces are now going after them. It’s time we put the spotlight on Hamas funding, especially the little-discussed cryptocurrency link. If you look closely at Hamas funding and how they manage to do what they do, some disturbing questions come up. Let’s take them up one by one and look for the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Hamas is a designated terror group. It is a stateless body that violently took control of Gaza in 2007. Since then, it has been running the Palestinian territory, and routinely carrying out military-style attacks on Israel.
The question is: how can a stateless entity be so well-armed and well-trained? They own tonnes of sophisticated military-grade equipment. Who do they get it from? Gaza is strictly landlocked by Israel from north and east. To Gaza’s west is the Mediterranean Sea, which is meticulously patrolled by Israeli forces. Gaza’s south border is with Egypt, and that border is strictly guarded by the Egyptians. In fact, Cairo is building a military-grade concrete wall to stop innocent Gaza residents from escaping the battle zone.
So, how on earth do sensitive killer weapons enter Gaza and reach Hamas? There’s a lot of talk in the media about how much aid is going in for the poor civilians. But the mainstream press doesn’t investigate how military-grade weapons go in and reach Hamas.
Let’s look at the weapons that Hamas used during the October 7 attack. They say they launched 5,000 high-calibre rockets in a span of a few hours. Only a state-backed, military-level operation can do it. Some say Hamas has about 30,000 such rockets. And many of them are long-range; they can bring down commercial planes.
Hamas fighters also use .50-calibre machine guns placed on pickup trucks. On October 7, they used rockets, AK-47 guns, grenades, and drones – all at the same time. Attackers used paragliders to fly into Israel, shoot civilians, and take hostages. They also used bulldozers to gatecrash into Israeli soil and trigger chaos. It was a full-spectrum attack from a highly armed and highly trained unit.
It is impossible for a stateless body to get hold of such war machinery on its own. The attacks were carried out by Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. They are not a bunch of ragtag, underground fighters. They are properly trained combat experts.
So, we ask this disturbing question: If Gaza is blockaded, how can so many killer weapons reach Hamas? What’s the route? Who is helping them from outside? Food and aid can’t go in easily. But weapons are going in. What is the math here?
Let’s move on to the next point: the question of Hamas funding. Hamas has high-end training, expensive arms, and a proper intelligence network. To put all this together, they need plenty of money. Where does the money come from? We know that Hamas is based in Gaza, and Gaza is cut off from the rest of the world. So, how does the money reach their hands?
Assuming the money is delivered to Hamas or transferred to the leaders and operatives by influential and well-protected outsiders, how do they spend it on buying arms and ammunition? Isn’t it practically impossible for Hamas to be able to do that, considering the ban and blockade?
An unusual truth is that Hamas is not a widely accepted business entity. But despite that, they possess an enormous amount of money and assets, which partly explains for the considerable Hamas funding. Reports in the German media say Hamas has about $500 million in assets. That’s a fortune for an organisation that is banned and blockaded. They got hold of the assets by investing in multiple companies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Sudan. The investments are mainly in real estate and construction.
Hamas funding: The crypto connection
There’s more. We are told that Hamas is disconnected from the world. But despite that, they received $41 million over the last two years in cryptocurrency wallets. This shocking truth was revealed by Bit-OK, a cryptocurrency watchdog. After the October 7 attack, Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, froze hundreds of crypto accounts to cut down on Hamas funding.
We are told a lot of money is channelled into Hamas through Iran and Turkey. They get $100 million every year through Iran. And they receive a lot of money through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency. But how is the money transfer to a banned organisation allowed to happen? In fact, it sounds incredible, Forbes magazine declared Hamas one of the richest terror groups in the world in 2014. At that time, the annual turnover of Hamas was an eye-popping $1 billion.
Apart from the invisible funding, Hamas also squeezes out big, fat taxes from Gaza residents. It sounds cruel for the people of Gaza; Hamas collects $12-15 million every month in taxes on goods entering from Egypt. Most of the tax money is collected from cigarettes, fuel, and construction materials.
So, families in Gaza whose buildings are blown up by Israeli forces are forced to pay hefty taxes to the Hamas leadership just to rebuild their own homes. And they are forced to pay high taxes to Hamas every time they buy petrol and diesel in order to commute within the Gaza Strip.
Hamas doesn’t control the West Bank; it only controls Gaza. The Fatah political party governs the West Bank. But strangely, Hamas collects heavy taxes on goods imported by the residents of the West Bank.
Hamas funding model: A smokescreen
If you set aside the tax collection and overseas investments, the broader question of money supply still remains. Building a terrorist empire can’t be done simply with donations, taxes, and profits from businesses. They definitely get a lot more money from bigger sources. There’s much more to Hamas funding than what we are being told. But who supplies all that money? And how?
Here’s another puzzling question. A top US official recently claimed that Egypt had warned Israel of an impending terror attack three days before the October 7 massacre took place. Israel has categorically denied receiving any warning from Cairo, calling it ‘absolutely false’.
The claim was made by Michael McCaul, who heads a US congressional panel called the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. What is going on here? Why is America making this unusual claim? And why are people higher up in government, like Joe Biden, silent on it? What is the American gameplan here? Why is it sending mixed signals?
We know that Hamas is a designated terror group. It was created in 1987. The US government declared it as a terror group on October 8, 1997. So, for the last 26 years, Hamas has been operating as a terror group banned by the US. Britain, Australia, Japan, and the European Union, apart from Israel, also officially consider it as a terror group.
American double standards
The question is: why is the Pentagon sitting quietly and not trying to dismantle Hamas? We are asking this question because America is extremely obsessive when it comes to tackling terrorism. It launched the War on Terror campaign after the 9/11 attacks in the US.
That campaign is still going on, directly claiming almost 10 lakh lives so far. The US military has been carrying out anti-terror actions in multiple countries. But it never decided to physically go into Gaza and finish off Hamas. Why the double standards from a country that intervenes in other countries’ affairs at the drop of a hat?
Here’s a question for those who support Hamas. Is Hamas really fighting for the rights of Palestinians? If so, why are they using the common people of Gaza as shields? Every time Hamas attacks Israel, there is a strong counterattack from the Israelis. And it is the common people of Gaza who take the bullet. They handle the retaliation, while the Hamas members escape to underground tunnels.
Thanks to hefty Hamas funding, the group has built a sophisticated network of tunnels under Gaza. The tunnels are meant for underground operations and safety of Hamas officials. But the public of Gaza doesn’t have access to the safety of the tunnels. The people on the ground are fully exposed. They have no protection. That apart, we already discussed that Gaza residents are forced to pay extra money for the goods they buy because Hamas levies heavy taxes. If Hamas is fighting for the Palestinian public, why is it making their lives more difficult?
A lot is being said about the Israel-Palestine conflict and Hamas funding. There is plenty of analysis going on out there in the mainstream circles. And there is a constant flow of news about daily developments. But no one is willing to answer these basic questions. Maybe because the answers are too disturbing? Maybe because the answers will challenge the standard narrative that we are being spoon-fed?
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