Where Hamas gets its money and why it’s so hard to stop, even as the U.S. steps up efforts


In the aftermath of the October 7 terrorist attacks perpetrated by Palestinian militant organization Hamas, the United States is taking decisive steps to cut off its funding sources. While Israel conducts airstrikes in Gaza, the U.S. Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, engaged in discussions with officials in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. expressed willingness to take unilateral action but emphasized the effectiveness of strategic alignment with regional partners for swift and efficient outcomes.

Hamas’ financial network, deemed intricate and extensive by U.S. officials, poses a significant challenge. The group, governing Gaza, receives funds through charitable organizations, some of which also provide aid for civilian and civil projects in Gaza. Distinguishing between legitimate aid and funds channeled for nefarious purposes proves challenging.

Hamas further generates revenue by taxing goods produced in Gaza and those imported into the strip. Notably, Iran stands out as a major funding source for Hamas, according to insights from the Treasury and State departments.

To counter this funding, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned ten institutions supporting Hamas across various regions, including Gaza, the West Bank, Sudan, Turkey, Algeria, and Qatar. These sanctions aim to disrupt the flow of funds to Hamas. However, challenges persist in monitoring and intercepting financial transactions effectively.

Once an individual or institution is placed on the designated terror funding list by OFAC, financial institutions worldwide, including those in the U.S., receive alerts. Transactions involving U.S. dollars pass through American banks, triggering manual reviews. Despite these efforts, critics argue that the system has not done enough to prevent money from reaching Hamas. For instance, organizations like Turkey’s IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, suspected of funding Hamas, have not faced significant consequences, possibly due to diplomatic considerations.

The situation remains complex, requiring continuous international cooperation and vigilance to curb Hamas’ financial resources effectively. As diplomatic considerations intersect with counterterrorism efforts, the challenge lies in finding a balance that ensures national security while navigating the complexities of global financial networks.

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