Block­ade is multi-bil­lion busi­ness for Ha­mas chiefs

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

and the emer­gence of an even more in­sane group of Salafi rulers.

The Western al­lies had no prob­lem fight­ing along­side the Soviet Union against the Nazis — an apt anal­ogy, given that Ha­mas and its ji­hadist al­lies are noth­ing if not toad­y­ing fas­cists whose anti-Is­rael pro­pa­ganda is cre­at­ing a wave of an­ti­semitism in Europe not seen since the build-up to the Holo­caust.

In short, the Is­lamic State, Ha­mas and its spon­sor Qatar have achieved what count­less paid-off for­mer Western diplo­mats to Riyadh never quite man­aged to: make what the Al-Sauds have to say seem worth lis­ten­ing to. John R Bradley’s books in­clude ‘Saudi Ara­bia Ex­posed: In­side a King­dom in Cri­sis’

AS FIGHT­ING has raged, pic­tures of Ha­mas lead­ers out of dan­ger and en­joy­ing the high life while their sub­jects suf­fer have gone vi­ral. But ac­cord­ing to Is­raeli ex­pert Moshe Elad, who has been closely watch­ing the Is­lamist move­ment for years, the im­ages only show the tip of the ice­berg.

He es­ti­mates that around 800 Ha­mas af­fil­i­ates have be­come mil­lion­aires by cir­cum­vent­ing the Is­raeli block­ade and im­port­ing goods via se­cret tun­nels run­ning from Egypt.

Although the tun­nels econ­omy is now in cri­sis due to Egyp­tian crack­downs, ty­coons have made for­tunes, as have the Ha­mas officials who have gath­ered taxes on goods im­ported through un­der­ground pas­sages.

But this is noth­ing com­pared to the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s lead­ers, such as Khaled Mashaal and Mousa Abu Mar­zook, who are es­ti­mated to be worth $2.5 bil­lion (£1.4bn) each.

Dr Elad was head of Is­raeli se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion with the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity in the West Bank in the mid-1990s, and says that he has seen first hand how cor­rup­tion makes Pales­tinian po­lit­i­cal lead­ers rich. “I was shocked, stunned, to see that what re­ally both­ered them was their busi­ness,” he said, adding that Ha­mas has repli­cated the same cor­rup­tion model.

He added: “They came to power to im­ple­ment their ide­ol­ogy but they were very much aware that in Gaza you can make money.”

The Egyp­tian me­dia has been highly crit­i­cal of Ha­mas’s cor­rup­tion. One TV pre­sen­ter showed pic­tures of Mashaal re­lax­ing in a Qatari gym, and de­clared: “If you’re a man and a hero, to­mor­row get on the first plane and en­ter Gaza through the Rafah cross­ing.”

There is also a track record of donor money to Gaza dis­ap­pear­ing or get­ting swal­lowed up in bad in­vest­ments.

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