Hamas leaders get incredibly wealthy while Gazans suffer


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  pokermike  •  10 years ago  •  11 comments

Hamas leaders get incredibly wealthy while Gazans suffer

With multi-million-dollar land deals, luxury villas and black market fuel from Egypt, Gaza's rulers made billions while the rest of the population struggled with 38-percent poverty and 40-percent unemployment.

While the fighting is only expected to worsen the distress of the residents of Gaza, the Strip's economic outlook for the Strip was never good. The unemployment rate in Gaza stood at approximately 40% before the latest conflict, with a similar proportion being classed as living under the poverty line.

But while most of the Gaza population tries to deal with the difficulties of daily life, it seems that one sector at least has had few worries about their livelihoods - Hamas leaders and their associates.

Multi-million-dollar deal

Someone who has benefitted financially is the former Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. Before 2006 and Hamas' shocking electoral win and subsequent dominance of the Palestinian government , 51-year-old Haniyeh was not considered a senior figure in Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But according to reports in the past few years, Haniyeh's new-found senior status has allowed him to become a millionaire. This is an unusual feat, given that he was born to a refugee family in the al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

In 2010, Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusuf reported that Haniyeh paid for $4 million for a 2,500msq parcel of land area in Rimal, a tony beachfront neighborhood of Gaza City. To avoid embarrassment, the land was registered in the name of the husband of Haniyeh's daughter. Since then, there have been reports that Haniyeh has purchased several homes in the Gaza Strip, registered in the names of his children - no hardship, as he has 13 of them.

At least with regards to his eldest son, it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree, given his arrest on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with millions of dollars in cash in possession, which he intended to take into Gaza.

Subsidized fuel sold for profit

According to sources in Gaza, Haniyeh's wealth, like others high up in Hamas, came primarily from the flourishing tunnel industry. Senior Hamas figures, Haniyeh included, would levy 20 percent taxation on all of the trade passing through the tunnels.

Hamas's heyday came after the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, as its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood was growing in popularity in Egypt.

In those days, Hamas leaders and their associates were not afraid to show off their ostentatious wealth. Gaza's market for luxury villas costing at least a million dollars was booming, most purchased by people associated with the establishment of Hamas. A Gazan familiar with the real estate market summed it up at the time with a quip about a Hamas crony who had recently acquired a luxury villa: "Two years ago, he couldnt afford a packet of cigarettes."

At the same time, Khairat a-Shater, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who headed his own business empire, made sure to personally transfer tens of millions in cash to senior administration officials in Gaza as well as to commanders from the Hamas military wing.

There were senior Hamas members who preferred that the money be kept in a safer place than the Gaza Strip, and invested it in various Egyptian assets, often through business partnerships with Muslim Brotherhood officials. In some cases, the man conducting the deals on behalf of Hamas officials, who ensured that they received their dividends in cash, was Ayman Taha, a Hamas founder once considered one of its key spokesmen. In 2011, Taha himself paid $700,000 for a luxury three-floor villa in the central Gaza Strip; a year ago, he was charged with being an agent for Egypt.

The Egyptian street has become inflamed with anger directed against Hamas over the last three years, partly due to what appears to be its financial gains at the expense of the Egyptian people. The tunnels in Rafah, the town straddling the Gaza-Egypt border, for example, saw a flourishing fuel-smuggling industry from Sinai. The fuel subsidized by the Egyptian government was entering Gaza at a low price, but being sold for eight times that. Those who made the greatest profits from the sale of the fuel were Hamas members, even as Egypt often reported shortages for its own people.

Hamas, says Professor Ahmed Karima of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, has long become a movement of millionaires. According to Karima, the organization can count no less than 1,200 millionaires among its members. He did not, however, specify the source of this information.

Mashal's mall

It was not only Hamas members in Gaza who became rich. It appears that political leader Khaled Mashal is another member of the organization who used Hamas funds to his own ends. In 2012, a Jordanian website reported that Mashal had control of a massive $2.6 billion, in large part deposited in Qatari and Egyptian banks. This is likely Hamas' accumulated assets from years through donations, as well as its investments in various projects in the Arab and Muslim world. It is also known that, among other things, Hamas has invested in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Dubai. And, according to reports, Mashal did not always separate Hamas money and his own.

Hamas' expulsion from Syria was a severe financial blow for the movement. In 2011, before the start of the Syrian conflict, Hamas's assets in the country had reached a value of $550 million. Apart from its real estate holdings, Hamas invested in various commercial companies, including a cargo company registered to a Syrian businessman close to Moussa Abu Marzook, Mashal's deputy.

As with other areas, in its financial dealings Hamas leaders keep their cards close to their chest and maintain a high level of secrecy. Investments are made through front companies, using family and associates. Companies linked to Mashal in Qatar are registered to his wife and daughter.

Once he was forced to close his office in Damascus (after falling out with the Assad regime over its oppressive response to the conflict), Mashal declared that his place was in Qatar. There, he claimed that $12 million he had stored in his safe in his Damascus office had been lost. Not many accepted this story, and to this day believe that Mashal kept the money, transferring it to his own personal accounts.

Reliable sources claim that a project by the Fadil real estate firm in Qatar is linked to Mashal, his son and his son's wife. The prestigious project in Doha, the Qatari capital, includes the construction of four towers of more than 27,000 square meters, including office and commercial space attached to a mall with an area of 10,000 square meters. The company has never disclosed the source of its funding.

According to a World Bank report released in November of last year, the Gaza Strip ranks third in the Arab region in terms of poverty, ranking above only Sudan and Yemen. The report stated that the poverty rate in Gaza stands at 38 percent. Furthermore, of the 144 countries included in the report, Gaza was the 44th poorest, with most of the countries with a higher poverty rate being located in Africa.



jrDiscussion - desc
Freshman Silent
link   seeder  pokermike    10 years ago

A few highlights from the story:

1. No less the 1,200 millionaires among Hamas members.

2. Former Gazan Prime Minister, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh purchased $4 million beachfront property in 2010. He has also purchased several homes for his 13 children.

3.A Gazan familiar with the real estate market summed it up at the time with a quip about a Hamas crony who had recently acquired a luxury villa: "Two years ago, he couldnt afford a packet of cigarettes."

4. Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal had control of $2.6 billion, mostly deposited in Qatari and Egyptian banks.

Apparently these "brave resistance fighters" are finding it quite profitable siphoning off funds meant to alleviate the misery of ordinary Palestinians. No great surprise though. Yassir Arafat stole billions of aid money over his entire reign of the PLO. The corruption of Palestinian leadership has always been massive and endemic.

Junior Quiet
link   Spikegary    10 years ago

So, it's not really about the Jews, but keeping the population under their heel so they can make themselves Sultans.......no surprise.....

Freshman Silent
link   seeder  pokermike    10 years ago

What the Palestinians need is more aid money. Yeah, that's what they need, more money.


Professor Expert
link   Krishna    10 years ago

This is nothing new. For decades-- despite the huge amount of $$$ the Palistinian's corrupt leadership gets, the average person see very little, if any, of it.

For example, while many people knew that Arafat was wealthy-- probably a millionaire. But that's not accurate-- it was a lot more than millions:


Arafat's Billions One Man's Quest To Track Down Unaccounted-For Public Funds

Yasser Arafat diverted nearly $1 billion in public funds to insure his political survival, but a lot more is unaccounted for. Jim Prince and a team of American accountants - hired by Arafat's own finance ministry - are combing through Arafat's books. Given what they've already uncovered, Arafat may be rethinking the decision. Lesley Stahl reports. "What is Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority worth today?" asks accountant Jim Prince. "Who is controlling that money? Where is that money? How do we get it back?"

So far, Prince's team has determined that part of the Palestinian leader's wealth was in a secret portfolio worth close to $1 billion -- with investments in companies like a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, a Tunisian cell phone company and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.

Although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And, Prince says, none of these dealings were made public.

Freshman Silent
link   seeder  pokermike    10 years ago

More on filthy degenerate Arafat and his wife/beard Suha:

At the time of his death, Arafats assets were estimated at $200 million by the Forbes magazine. Forbes listed him ninth in its ranking of the worlds wealthiest heads of state, even though he was a ruler without a country and many of his people were (are) suffering from abject poverty. Other sources, including the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), put Arafats fortune at $6 billion dollars, a figure exaggerated according to several PLO figures I have talked to.

Well-connected sources in Ramallah have intimated that Suha Arafat inherited hundreds of millions of dollars registered under her deceased husbands name in several European banks. The vast bulk of the money is believed to have belonged to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).


Professor Expert
link   Krishna    10 years ago

Interesting bit of trivia: For years the "palestinians" received more aid per capita than any other "country" in the world! (I believe they slipped to second place as a result of the wars in Iraq and the huge amt of money we spent there.

Professor Expert
link   Krishna    10 years ago

Dont know if you saw this but its pretty amazing-- there are two different UN refugee agencies:

The Truth About the Refugees: Israel Palestinian Conflict

Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon explains the historical facts relating to the issue of refugees in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The video explains the reason there are still refugees after more than six decades is because of Arab leaders' recalcitrance to accept their brethren and the United Nations which created a separate agency with unique principles and criteria.

The video also highlights the issue of the Jewish refugees who were forced out of their homes in the Arab world, and were subsequently absorbed by the State of Israel.

(If anyone agrees that this is an important video, please email a link to anyone for whom you think it might be appropriate. thanx :-)

Professor Expert
link   Krishna    10 years ago

Gaza-- Oh, the misery!

Nigel Dogberry
Freshman Silent
link   Nigel Dogberry    10 years ago

My son said an interesting thing to me a while back:

In America a kid grows up wanting to be like John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King (or whatever wonderful role model there is for that kid). A kid in Iraq isn't going to want to grow up to be a JFK or MLK. He is going to grow up wanting to be a Saddam Hussein.

Larry Hampton
Professor Participates
link   Larry Hampton    10 years ago

(If anyone agrees that this is an important video, please email a link to anyone for whom you think it might be appropriate. thanx :-)

Agreed; this is a perfect video to share!

Professor Expert
link   Krishna    one month ago

And despite the current ongoing fighting between Israel and hamas, Hamas leaders still live fairly well: 


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