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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hamas keeps raking in the cash

The Washington Times reports that despite the best efforts of the United States, Hamas continues to rake in the dough....
A U.S.-led funding squeeze, which has paralyzed the Hamas-led Palestinian government, has had the unintended effect of bolstering the militant group's network of schools, hospitals and alms societies.

Foreign donations, often consisting of cash in suitcases smuggled across the border, have permitted Hamas' vast social-welfare network to thrive, say officials and analysts.

"All charitable organizations affiliated with Hamas are still functioning," said Sheik Yazeeb Khader, an editor of Hamas' West Bank newspaper. He said the charities in Gaza have especially benefited from money "brought across the border and not checked."


Unable to pay for supplies, government ministries have since ceased to function, and without salaries, civil servants have gone on strike.

The charities, however, openly boast that they continue to get money from Muslim communities in the Persian Gulf, Europe and the United States.

"These organizations are living in a golden age, where they are badly needed. There is no other way to take care of those people," said Basem Ezbidi, a political science professor at Birzeit University.

The links between Hamas and its social affiliates are kept deliberately murky.
None of the charities bear the Hamas name. Ask the managers about support from Hamas, and they are quick to deny any political affiliation.

Amid continuing economic hardship, the charities are coming under fire from some who charge that Hamas is protecting its own.

"There is a lot of money in Hamas," said Abdel Nasser Najjar, a columnist for Al Ayyam, a newspaper of the opposition Fatah party.

"The problem now, is that Hamas is only giving to their own people, or people who are close to the movement."
Then why do we all keep hearing about a 'humanitarian crisis' in Gaza?


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