Hamas rallies in Gaza. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90) Hamas rallies in Gaza. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
fatah hamas unity

The Palestinian Authority accused Hamas of stealing funds intended to aid Gaza’s residents. Hamas has a history of graft and usury.

Is the rift between Fatah and Hamas growing? Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), accused Hamas on Tuesday of embezzling $700 million earmarked for aiding Gazan families.

The Arab news site Ahram reports that a Fatah spokesman, Ahmed Assaf, speaking to the Awda channel, stated that Hamas received this vast sum of money donated by Muslims from around the world during Operation Protective Edge but did not use the funds for the benefit of the residents of Gaza.

“Where has this money gone?” asked Assaf, demanding that Hamas allocate the funds to civilians in Gaza. Assaf further accused the terrorist organization of exploiting “the circumstances of war and death and destruction to collect money at the expense of the blood of the children of Palestine.”

Fatah has previously accused Hamas of embezzlement and usury, claiming they were exploiting Gaza’s residents for personal gain.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned earlier this month that the Palestinian unity government is on the brink of collapse, and he threatened to sever ties with Hamas if they do not cooperate with the PA.

History of Graft and Usury

According to the World Bank report released in November 2013, the Gaza Strip ranks third in the Arab world in terms of poverty, after Sudan and Yemen. Gaza is labeled the 44th poorest region in the world, with most African countries having a higher standard of living than Gaza.

Hamas leaders are known for their wealth and accumulated assets. A report published by Israel’s Ynet news site claims that they and their associates have been dealing in multi-million dollar deals and lining their pockets with public funds.

They are involved in land deals, the purchasing of luxury villas and trading in black-market fuel from Egypt, but profit primarily on the smuggling business through tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza, the report says.

Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh owns several homes in Gaza, all of them registered under different names to avoid a scandal, the report demonstrates. In 2010, Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusef reported that Haniyeh paid $4 million for a 2,500-square-meter plot of land in the beachfront city of Rimal.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has controlled a $2.6-billion fund divided between Qatar and Egypt, the report alleges.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel