Hamas has never received as much donations as it does

Hamas has never received as much donations as it does now

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas political leader: Members of the group have been sanctioned by various countries since the start of the war | Photo: EFE/EPA/Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran

Investigations by Israeli intelligence and Washington show that the terrorist group Hamas receives between $8 million and $12 million a month from online donations alone, many of them from front organizations that deliver aid to civilians in Gaza.

That money is considered a “record increase” compared to what the militia received before the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to officials at the National Office to Combat the Financing of Terrorism in Tel Aviv, who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity languages ​​.

In November, a month after terrorists invaded the Gaza border, a senior official at Mossad Israel's intelligence and special operations agency disclosed a 70 percent increase in funds transferred to Hamaslinked humanitarian aid agencies. According to Israeli Defense and Foreign Ministry officials, who also released the data anonymously, there was an increase in gross value of about US$100 million (R495.3 million) in the first seven weeks after the massacre.

In addition to shell companies, another important source of funding for the terror group is an Islamic money transfer system called hawala, which allows funds to be sent through intermediaries without the amount physically crossing borders, similar to a network of promissory notes. The money flows from one party to another, bypassing Westernstyle banks, making it difficult for countries seeking to curb the terrorist activities of extremist groups to impose sanctions.

Charitable funds funneled to Hamas through the system are sometimes intended for legitimate humanitarian needs in Gaza, such as medical supplies, food and education. However, Israeli intelligence says much of that money is ultimately used by the Palestinian group for military purposes.

The movement of funds within Gaza's transfer networks is extremely fluid and difficult to track, making the task of Israeli financial prosecutors challenging. For example, to circumvent restrictions in the U.S. and EU, Hamas raises money through organizations in other countries that are not clearly affiliated with the group, Israeli and American officials said.

However, on the 11th of this month, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on the group's political leader, Yahya Sinwar, over the October 7 attack on Israel. These sanctions will ban the Palestinian militia leader from entering EU territory and freeze his assets and assets in European entities. Furthermore, no company or individual on the block can provide you with money.

In an interview with CNBC, senior U.S. government officials said it was difficult to track and quantify Hamas' fundraising because the terrorist organization has years of experience evading financial sanctions and other tools that stifle access to money should restrict.

The same challenge exists with cryptocurrencies. Authorities in Washington and Tel Aviv do not have complete control over the extent of the transfers because Hamas and its donors do not use the digital currencies that Western governments typically monitor, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Instead, the Palestinian militia donor network uses smaller cryptocurrencies.

Before the war, when donations went directly to charities, the money reached Hamas in a variety of ways, including aid convoys. Another process is known as tradebased terrorist financing (FTBC). This gives the group an opportunity to “disguise the donations” and ask local businessmen in Gaza to transfer money to Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007. The companies will then receive a refund in the form of goods, Israeli authorities reveal.

Much of Hamas' spending is also financed by countries such as Qatar, which sends around US$30 million (R148.5 million) a month to the enclave, along with a subsidy from the West Bankbased Palestinian Authority.

According to Israeli intelligence, Iran is another major sponsor of the organization's terrorist activities, which is part of the Axis of Resistance, an informal alliance against the West in the Middle East. According to the Mossad, Tehran is responsible for financing Hamas's military efforts to the tune of more than $100 million (R$495 million) per year, according to recent surveys, money that comes with proceeds from Hamas's investments in several countries this involves donations abroad.

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