International Able to Survive Amid Israeli Onslaught, Who Funds Hamas? News – 2 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Palestinian armed group, Hamas, is able to provide resistance to the Israeli military. This was the aftermath of the group’s attack on southern Israel on October 7, which killed 1,400 residents.

Israel also cut off the flow of logistics, electricity and water to Gaza in its blockade. This is expected to put pressure on Hamas.

However, Hamas reportedly still fired missiles in return at Israel. Even though it is not as sporadic as Tel Aviv, Hamas still provides resistance.

This also raises questions about how Hamas is financing this war while the Israeli blockade is in effect. According to the director of the Center for Policy Research and professor of political science at the University of Albany, Victor Asal, Hamas plays two roles at once in its fight against Israel.

“Hamas has two wings. They have a social services wing and a military wing, and the social services wing is very active in trying to raise funds – but that money definitely goes to the military,” he told BusinessInsiderFriday (27/10/2023).

In detail, there are several methods used by the social services wing to collect funds. Here’s the list:

1. Charities

Historically, Hamas-affiliated charities under the guise of aid to Gaza have driven funding for its military wing. While some of these funds may ultimately reach their targets, often these charitable organizations provide funds to the military wing.

In 2003, the United States (US) Treasury Department designated five different charities in the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Lebanon and France as terrorist organizations for their support of Hamas.

In 2009, the Justice Department convicted leaders of the US-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development for providing financial support to the militant group.

“In response to the international crackdown on Hamas-affiliated charities, the group has, in recent years, relied less on this fundraising method. However, it remains a consistent source of income for the militant group,” two experts told Insider.

2. Iranian support

Apart from charity, Hamas also receives international support, especially from Iran. Matthew Levitt, a former counter-terrorism intelligence analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said that Iran contributes between US$ 70 million (Rp. 1.1 trillion) and US$ 100 million (Rp. 1.5 trillion) per year to support the group. That.

“With Iran, this allows them to expand their reach beyond their borders, to weaken the enemy and they are committed to destroying Israel. It also allows them, to put it bluntly, to fight to the last Arab country,” Levitt told Insider.

“You won’t see Iranians, Persians, on the front lines in Lebanon or in the Gaza Strip. Iran is very comfortable deploying Arab Muslim assets who, when they do something, will be the ones who suffer the most from retaliation, not Iran .”

For Iran, Levitt said, funding Hamas ultimately offers a financially and politically inexpensive way to undermine Israel’s stability while maintaining an appearance of denial about its involvement.

3. Taxation, investment and smuggling

An origin from the University of Albany explains that Hamas gets funding through taxation, extortion, smuggling, kidnapping and robbery around the Gaza Strip.

Levitt, who currently serves as director of the Reinhard program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Hamas monitors “anything that crosses their borders” and controls economic activity in the region.

“When there are smuggling tunnels dug into Egypt, Hamas taxes them. When Qatar, with the approval of Israel and the US, gives money to pay salaries in the Gaza Strip, Hamas can tax them,” Levitt said

“Any business. Any aid, humanitarian aid, truck after truck that comes every day from Israel to Gaza is all subject to taxation and extortion – so the biggest income for Hamas right now is not Iran.”

4. Money laundering and crypto

Levitt said Hamas relies heavily on cryptocurrency transactions and trade-based money laundering to avoid being easily traced.

“So instead of sending someone $100, you send them $100 worth of wheat, sugar or rice. And since wheat, sugar and rice have to go to the Gaza Strip, that doesn’t surprise anyone,” he said Levitt.

“But if you send it to Hamas there, which is easy to do because they are the governing entity, then they can use it to provide other funds. They can use it to give to their constituents and build grassroots support to be able to do the same.”

After Israel declared war on Hamas, the US has promised humanitarian aid of US$ 100 million (Rp. 1.5 trillion) to the Palestinians, which according to reports The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) may ultimately fall into the hands of Hamas due to its control of the Gaza Strip.

“The aid is intended to provide drinking water, food and medical care, but money is fungible,” Alex Zerden, a former senior national security official at the US Treasury Department, told WSJ.

“And this also allows Hamas to divert funds from providing funds to its people to support its war machine.”

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