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Wealth, War, and the Enigma of Hamas: Unveiling the Opulent Finances Behind the Gaza Conflict

Written by:
Yishai Gelb

Israel faces off against the lavish tyranny of Hamas, the second richest terrorist group in the world: Exploiting the Poorest While Building a Billion-Dollar Empire. The Hamas elite, masters of financial vampirism, have bled the impoverished in Gaza through exorbitant taxes and fees, channeling foreign aid into their insatiable business ventures. For over 15 years, they've callously plundered the earnings of Palestinians, orchestrating a war against the most powerful military in the Middle East while residing in opulent 5-star hotels. The true victims? The people of Gaza were left to bear the burdens of a conflict fueled by the greed of their supposed leaders.

Wealth, War, and the Enigma of Hamas: Unveiling the Opulent Finances Behind the Gaza Conflict

In the realm of global geopolitics, an intricate narrative unfolds as the leaders of Hamas, a prominent Palestinian organization, navigate a world of opulence while their constituents grapple with the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the Gaza Strip. Ismail Haniyeh, Khaled Meshal, and Musa Abu Marzouk, key figures within Hamas, collectively command fortunes in the billions, according to various estimations.


Ismail Haniyeh, deemed the wealthiest among the trio, purports a modest lifestyle centered around olive oil and za'atar. Yet, his reality tells a different tale—a life spent in hotels across Qatar and Turkey, traversing the globe in private planes between Tehran, Istanbul, Moscow, and Cairo. His wealth, as reported by the German publication "Bild," hovers around $2.5 billion, with conflicting estimates ranging up to $4 billion.



Haniyeh


Haniyeh's sons, Maaz and Abdel Salam, illuminate their extravagant lifestyles on social media, showcasing opulent stays in Istanbul and Doha. Maaz, recognized as "The Father of Real Estate" in the Gaza Strip, amasses wealth through his real estate ventures, even capturing moments alongside his father during the presentation of a new luxury car in Gaza.



Haniyeh's Son


Khaled Meshal, a pivotal Hamas figure, shares a similar narrative of affluence, primarily residing in Qatar and occasionally in Istanbul. His escape from Syria reportedly involved transferring a substantial $1.5 billion from Hamas offices in Damascus. Estimates in Israel suggest Meshal's wealth soaring between $4 and $5 billion.


Musa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of the Political Bureau, follows a trajectory that spans the United States, Jordan, Syria, and Cairo. Despite a history of arrest for supporting terrorism, Marzouk has maintained a fortune estimated at $2-3 billion. Tragically, during the ongoing conflict, his brother Yosef lost his life in a bombing in Rafah.



Hamas Leaders in a Private Jet


Adding intrigue to the financial landscape is Hisham Yunis Kapisha, a largely unknown billionaire acknowledged as a key financier of Hamas, facing U.S. sanctions for involvement in the organization's activities.


Origins of Wealth: Unveiling the Financial Tapestry


Revenue Streams

Hamas, once reliant on international donations, underwent a transformation post its 2007 militant coup, emerging as a formidable economic entity. Approximately 15% of Gaza's economy now funnels into Hamas coffers through taxes on goods, consumer items, and licensing fees, redirecting funds once destined for the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.


Contrary to common assumptions, revenue doesn't stem from smuggling tunnels beneath the Egyptian border—effectively sealed by Egypt's al-Sisi regime. While donations from Qatar and Iran have waned, Hamas employs a sophisticated tax system, pocketing substantial portions of international aid flowing into Gaza. Money changers converting foreign currency contribute to Hamas's coffers, adding tens of millions to its income.


Business Empire

Hamas operates a diverse portfolio, spanning real estate, insurance, banking, hotels, tourism, fish farms, and banquet halls. Employing tactics reminiscent of organized crime, Hamas strategically eliminates competition and takes control of banks, ensuring those dealing with the Gaza government align with their chosen financial institutions.


Estimates peg Hamas's total income from taxes, fees, and businesses at half a billion dollars. External donations further bolster their financial standing, with Qatar emerging as a principal benefactor, contributing hundreds of millions annually.


The Enigma Unveiled: Hamas's Financial Machinery


Delving into the specifics, "The Daily Mail" shed light on the organization's historical funding sources. Initially supported by exiled Palestinians, private donors from the Middle East, and Islamic funds in the West, Hamas's financial landscape evolved. Israel's facilitation of cash transfers from Qatar to Gaza became a noteworthy aspect.


The comprehensive tunnel system, designed not only for weapon smuggling but also for essential goods, played a pivotal role in generating income. Egypt, permitting goods entry, contributed $12 million monthly in tax revenue to Hamas as of 2021.


Iran emerges as a substantial donor, contributing $100 million annually to Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations. Turkey, while asserting support for Hamas's political wing, faces accusations of financing militant activities through aid diverted to the military wing.


In unraveling the financial intricacies of Hamas and its leaders, a tale of opulence intertwined with geopolitical complexities comes to light. As the conflict in the Gaza Strip persists, understanding the financial underpinnings adds a layer of intrigue to the broader narrative.


In this intricate tapestry of wealth and conflict, the opulence of Hamas leaders contrasts sharply with the struggles of the simple people barely surviving in the Gaza Strip. From the lavish lifestyles of Haniyeh, Meshal, and Marzouk to the financial intricacies of Hamas's empire, the story unfolds with geopolitical nuances. As the world witnesses the ongoing strife in the Gaza Strip, the enigma of Hamas's financial machinery adds a layer of complexity to the broader narrative. It remains a compelling exploration of power, wealth, and the profound impact on the lives of the Palestinians and Israelis caught in the crossfire. 

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