Hamas is a terrorist organization as designated by the United States, the European Union (representing 27 countries), the Organization of American States (a coalition of 35 countries), and other countries worldwide. What about adding “international criminal syndicate” to Hamas’ resume?
Before and during the May 2021 conflicts Hamas has repeatedly violated international law (firing missiles into civilian areas, firing missiles from civilian areas, and using civilians as human shields). As reported by the BBC (12 August 2021), this time, even the left-wing anti-Israel NGO Human Rights Watch had to admit Hamas’ war crimes. Thus, establishing and confirming Hamas’ position as a terrorist organization.
However, there is another angle to this story. And if it sounds familiar, perhaps because it has been the plot of many a gangster or super villain movie.
Under the headline “Hamas demands more money from Qatar,” an Israel Hayom article of 21 August 2020 stated (and I quote):
- Hamas is demanding that Qatar increase the amount of money it sends to the Gaza Strip each month to $40 million, to allow it to move ahead with a number of civilian projects in Gaza.
- Israel allows the money to be transferred after it reviews a detailed list of the residents and projects for which it is earmarked, although it believed that some of the money finds its ways into the hands of Hamas, which uses it to build up its military capabilities.
- Qatar starting [sic] sending funds to the Gaza Strip less than two years ago. At first, the amount stood at $5 million monthly. It was increased to $10 million, than [sic] $20 million, and this past year the amount has grown to $30 million.
- Now, in addition to asking for another $10 million per month, Hamas is demanding that the money be transferred on a regular basis and for a pre-determined “long-term” period.
Notice the use of the word “demand” versus “request.”
Notice the threats that accompany the “demands.”
The Times of Israel (29 July 2021) ran a headline that said “Hamas warns terror groups may resume rocket fire unless Qatari funds enter Gaza.” This in addition to other threats of fire balloons and violent demonstrations at the border unless monetary demands of Hamas are met.
This meets the criminal definition of extortion. A word that has been missing in the media when reporting on the topic of Qatari funds being sent to Gaza.
What Is Extortion? According to the Guide to Financial Crime and Fraud of Investopdeia.com: “Extortion is the wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or intimidation to gain money or property from an individual or entity. Extortion generally involves a threat being made to the victim’s person or property, or to their family or friends. While the threat of violence or property damage is commonplace in extortion, it can also involve reputational harm or unfavorable government action.”
Interpol, an inter-governmental police organization, released a report dated 26 September 2018 called “Organized crime underpins major conflicts and terrorism globally.” The report states: “Organized crime is increasingly undermining peace, security and development,” said Mark Shaw, Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. “It has become a global phenomenon, represented in a confluence of conflicts from Africa to the Middle East and the Americas, and showing a distinct linkage to the response to international terrorism.”
It is important to remember that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 leaving behind an infrastructure of agricultural green houses that were then immediately looted and destroyed by Gazans, thus providing practically no industrial base in which to build their country. And, the PA (Palestinian Authority) and Hamas continue to do nothing in order to “nation build” but continue to demand donations from outsiders.
It is also important to note that the victims of Hamas’ terrorist activities in Gaza deserve help and compensation. Donors must be assured that money for the Gazans goes to the Gazans themselves and not Hamas. The Gazans will spend the money on food and other necessities, while Hamas has and will spend it on terror tunnels and rockets.
Now we can add “international criminal syndicate” to Hamas’ resume. “Gangsta Hamas.” Has a nice ring to it. Hey, Interpol (and other law enforcement agencies), are you listening?