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Hamas Leaders’ Wealth vs. Gaza’s Poverty

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Hamas Leaders

Hamas leaders. Credit: Andre Haermeyer’s FB page.

The condition in Gaza has been dire for a long time. Even before the latest fighting started after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, half of the population in Gaza depended on food from the UN to survive.

The situation in Gaza has gotten even worse since the Israel-Gaza war  started. Israeli forces are targeting Hamas, and bombings take place every day. But while most of the 2.3 million Palestinians crowded into the tiny patch of land in the Gaza Strip, a quarter the size of London, there are a handful of millionaires and even billionaires living large.

According to the Israeli embassy in the US, three top Hamas leaders – Mousa Abu Marzouk, Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniyeh – are each worth over $3 billion. They say Hamas rakes in $1 billion a year, making them the world’s second richest terror group after ISIS.

Millionaires Made from Smuggling Tunnels

You can’t see it on the surface, but underneath Gaza City cash is flowing. Gaza is one of the poorest places in the world, but its leaders enjoy a luxurious life. Back in 2012 there were reports of 600 millionaires in Gaza, thanks to smuggling tunnels into Egypt. The tunnels created a whole new class of rich Hamas leaders, according to the newspaper Al Monitor.

Hamas top leaders keep a low profile since Israel has tried to take most of them out. For years nobody understood how rich they were, but now we know how those terrorists, who were  born and raised in refugee camps got to be secret billionaires.

Secret Assets and Lavish Lifestyles

Just hours after Hamas invaded Israel, the video shows Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (61) celebrating in his plush Doha office while he and other Hamas leaders cheer before flopping on the floor praising Allah.

Ismail Haniyeh

Ismail Haniyeh. Credit: “הצינור” FB page.

Haniyeh adopted a luxurious lifestyle – he has lived in Qatar since 2019 and is worth at least $5 million. In 2010 he paid $4 million cash for some beachfront land in Gaza, but has registered it in his son-in-law’s name, says the Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusuf. He reportedly purchased homes for his 13 children, one of them is known in Gaza as the  “Father of Real Estate.”

Haniyeh’s children live lavishly  both in and out of Gaza thanks to their Turkish passports. His son travels back and forth investing in properties in Turkey and other locations.

Hamas’ Global Business Empire

Back in 2021, the Jerusalem Post said Hamas controlled approximately 40 companies in Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and more based on intel. Most are  real estate and construction worth around $500 million. Hamas does business in Turkey due to their weak rules and due to the fact, they can hide money easily via money laundering  and tax cheating, according to the Double Cheque website.

Hamas Leaders Live Larger than Life Abroad

Toward the end of last year, additional Hamas leaders moved from Gaza into fancy hotels in Beirut, Doha and Istanbul where they live like kings, nothing like the suffering people back in Gaza they claim to care about.

Yahya Sinwar (60), who runs Hamas in Gaza, has a net worth of $1-3 million, says the BBC. Born in a refugee camp under Egyptian control, he started Hamas’ security squad. He was in Israeli prison serving  four life sentences in 1988, but was  released as part of the  Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, and now he’s back in charge in Gaza.

Sinwar, who the Palestinians call “The Brain” and Israelis “The Cat with Nine Lives” planned the recent attack with Haniyeh.

Another Hamas billionaire is Mohammed Deif.He is the head of Hamas’s military wing.  Israel has tried to take him out seven times, but he keeps cheating death. His net worth is estimated to be  $5 million.

One of the wealthiest men among Hamas leaders is Khaled Mashal. Mashal, 67, was born in the West Bank when it was under Jordanian control.

Khaled Mashaal

He became one of Hamas’s biggest leaders and is currently living in Qatar. Mashal invested in banks and real estate around the Gulf, which made him a very wealthy man.

Hamas is lounging in luxury while the people of Gaza suffer.

 

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Why is Lebanon against Israel?

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Hezbollah soldiers in Lebanon. Credit: CBN Israel FB page.

 

Hezbollah soldiers in Lebanon. Credit: CBN Israel FB page.

Recent events have seen a marked escalation in hostilities along the volatile Israel-Lebanon border, raising concerns about the potential for a broader regional conflict. This escalation thst had led Israel to evacuate communities near Lebanon border and poses significant risks, not just for the immediate area but for the stability of the Middle East at large. As tensions soar, understanding the intricate dynamics of this situation is crucial. We invite our readers to delve deeper into this complex issue.

Background of the Israel-Lebanon Conflict

Israel-Lebanon relations have been tumultuous since the 1940s. Lebanon participated in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War but was the first Arab League nation to seek an armistice with Israel in 1949. For years, Lebanon’s border with Israel remained relatively calm, especially compared to other Arab League states. However, this changed drastically during the 1970s and 1980s with the Lebanese Civil War. During this period, Israel allied with major Christian Lebanese militias, leading to the May 17 Agreement in 1983 for normalizing relations. This agreement was annulled by Lebanon in early 1984 following a power takeover by Druze and Shiite militias​​​​.

Lebanon’s involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflicts was relatively minor until the Lebanese Civil War. In the 1975 ambush on a bus by Phalangist gunmen, killing 27 Palestinian passengers, marked the beginning of the civil war. The war’s complexities were deeply intertwined with Lebanon’s sectarian political structure, dividing Shia and Sunni Muslims and Christians. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, aligning with the Phalangist Christian militant group against the PLO and Shia militias, leading to significant civilian casualties and extensive damage to Beirut’s infrastructure​​.

Post-civil war, the 1989 Taif Agreement led to opportunities for Middle East peace talks. However, Israel’s continued entry of southern Lebanon spurred the formation of Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, leading to terror warfare against Israel. Tensions escalated further with operations such as “Operation Accountability” in 1993 and “Grapes of Wrath” in 1996. 

The situation evolved with the UN Security Council’s report in 2000 confirming Israel’s withdrawal to the Lebanese-Israeli line of separation, known as the “Blue Line.” However, disputes over the Blue Line persisted, and Hezbollah’s actions, such as taking Israeli soldiers captive in the Shebaa Farms area in 2000, continued to fuel tensions. The international border between Lebanon and Israel remains undetermined, awaiting a peace agreement​​.

This historical context provides a foundation for understanding the current dynamics of the Israel-Lebanon relationship, marked by a legacy of conflict, shifting alliances, and ongoing political and territorial disputes.

Current Situation at the Lebanon-Israel Border

Lebanon Israeli border. Credit: ‘Daily Monitor’ FB page.

Lebanon Israeli border. Credit: ‘Daily Monitor’ FB page.

The current situation at the Lebanon-Israel border is marked by heightened tensions and escalating military activities. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted “widespread” strikes on Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, targeting the Hezbollah stronghold of Kafr Kila, as well as Bint Jbeil and Marwahin. These strikes were in response to Hezbollah’s rocket, missile, and drone attacks on northern Israel, including an incident where an anti-tank missile narrowly missed a vehicle in the Upper Galilee. Additionally, two explosive-laden drones launched from Lebanon hit open areas in the Mount Dov region on the Lebanon border, and another aerial target that entered Israeli airspace was downed by air defenses​​​​​​​​​​.

Since October 8,2023  Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the Lebanese border on a near-daily basis, in support of Gaza amid the ongoing war there. These skirmishes have resulted in civilian deaths and the loss of IDF soldiers. Hezbollah has reported the deaths of more than hundred of its members during these skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria.      

The IDF has stated that many of Hezbollah’s rockets fired at Israel have fallen in Lebanon. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari highlighted Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah as endangering Lebanon for the sake of Hamas and Iran, emphasizing the significant impact of Hezbollah’s actions on the stability of southern Lebanon​​.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed the commitment to restoring security along the northern border, warning of severe strikes if Hezbollah widens the fighting. Meanwhile, War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, in a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, emphasized the need to distance Hezbollah from the border and discussed the broader threat posed by the Iranian-led Axis of Terror​​.

The United States has been actively working to prevent the Gaza war from spreading, issuing warnings to Hezbollah and Iran against further escalation. Notably, UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, called for the removal of armed personnel south of Lebanon’s Litani River, except for UNIFIL and the Lebanese army and state security forces. Despite this, Hezbollah has entrenched itself across much of southern Lebanon, regularly launching rockets against Israel​​.

In parallel, Hezbollah has been engaging in a calculated and coordinated strategy, often allowing other groups to launch rockets against Israel from south Lebanon, to minimize the risks of full-scale war. However, this strategy has resulted in numerous casualties among Hezbollah fighters and displacement of thousands of civilians in southern Lebanon due to fears of another war.

Lebanese Political Forces’ Stance on War with Israel

Despite Hezbollah’s significant influence in Lebanese politics, there is a clear consensus among Lebanon’s political leaders against engaging in war with Israel. Prominent politicians, including former prime ministers and party leaders, have expressed their opposition, highlighting the dire economic consequences and the threat to national sovereignty. There is a general recognition that while defending Lebanon’s interests is paramount, engaging in a war with Israel would be disastrous for the already beleaguered nation.

Summary: Assessing the Current Situation and Iran’s Regional Interests

Lebanese hezbollah supporters. Credit: Arab news FB page.

Lebanese hezbollah supporters. Credit: Arab news FB page.

The current situation along the Israel-Lebanon border is fraught with danger, underpinned by complex political, economic, and social factors. Lebanon’s vehement opposition to war with Israel stems from a keen awareness of the country’s fragile state and the catastrophic impact such a conflict would have. Meanwhile, Iran’s interest in the region, particularly its support for Hezbollah, adds another layer of complexity to this volatile situation. Iran’s potential involvement in opening another war front cannot be overlooked, as it could escalate the conflict to a regional scale, further destabilizing an already tense Middle East.

In conclusion, the situation along the Israel-Lebanon border remains tense and precarious. With Lebanon firmly against entering a war with Israel due to its internal vulnerabilities and the overwhelming consensus among its political forces, the focus now shifts to how this standoff will evolve in the context of broader regional dynamics and Iran’s strategic interests. As events continue to unfold, it is imperative to monitor this situation closely, understanding the profound implications it holds for regional stability.

 

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Does UNRWA help Hamas?

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UNRWA building in Gaza. Credit: David Ziplowitz’s FB page.

 

UNRWA building in Gaza. Credit: David Ziplowitz’s FB page.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide aid to Palestinian refugees. However, over the years, its role has come under scrutiny due to allegations of aiding Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization. This concern was further fueled by instances like UNRWA staff praising Hamas’ October 7 massacres and the captivity of Israeli hostages by an UNRWA teacher​​​​. In this article we will delve deeper into understanding why these accusations against UNRWA arose, what is the essence of the relationship between this organization and Hamas and what the attacks of October 7 proved about the organization’s bonding with Hamas. 

What is UNRWA?

UNRWA supply  Credit: Capital FM Kenya’s FB page

UNRWA supply  Credit: Capital FM Kenya’s FB page

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Arab Refugees in the Middle East, was established in December 1949 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302. Its creation was a response to the crisis following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, which resulted in a large number of Arab refugees. Initially, UNRWA was intended to provide direct relief and work programs for these refugees. Over the years, UNRWA’s mandate has been repeatedly renewed, and its operations have expanded to include education, healthcare, and social services.

UNRWA’s approach to the Palestinian refugee status is unique compared to other refugee organizations. Unlike the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which focuses on resolving refugee situations, UNRWA perpetuates the status of Palestinian refugees across generations. This policy involves granting refugee status to all descendants of the original refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. As a result, the number of Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s care has expanded from 750,000 in 1950 to an estimated 5.8 million today. This expansive definition has been a critical factor in the ongoing increase in the number of Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA’s Support for Hamas

UNRWA cement bag found in Hamas tunnels. Credit: Aliya Return Center FB page.

UNRWA cement bag found in Hamas tunnels. Credit: Aliya Return Center FB page.

Recent news demonstrates UNRWA’s operations in Gaza provide direct support for Hamas. This includes employing Gazans who are active Hamas members, using UNRWA installations for terrorist activities, and transporting terrorists and weapons in UNRWA ambulances​​.

Are UNRWA and Hamas the Same?

While they are not the same organization, reports indicate deep connections between the two. Many UNRWA employees, including teachers, have expressed support for Hamas and its violent actions against Israel​​​​​​​​. Moreover, a significant number of Hamas terrorists are graduates of the UNRWA education system​​.

UNRWA’s Response to Recent Events

UNRWA’s response to the events surrounding the October 7, 2023 attacks has been a subject of considerable concern. Several UNRWA staff members, including teachers and educational personnel, were found praising the Hamas-perpetrated October 7 massacres on social media and celebrating the attacks resulted in significant civilian casualties and included brutal atrocities​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, on Israeli cities and kibbutzim. Additionally, it was reported that an UNRWA teacher in Gaza was involved in holding an Israeli hostage, further implicating the information regarding UNRWA staff involvement in activities associated with Hamas​​​​. Moreover, many of the terrorists involved in the October events were graduates of UNRWA schools, highlighting a troubling connection between the education provided by UNRWA and the radicalization of its students​​. These incidents have raised serious questions about the extent to which UNRWA can be considered a neutral and legitimate aid organization.

Conclusion: The Need for a New Aid Organization

Given UNRWA’s response to recent events and its controversial  relationship with Hamas, there is a growing call for the establishment of a new, internationally managed aid organization. This new entity would ideally be more effective and neutral, not influenced by any terrorist group or political agenda, and more in line with the original humanitarian mission intended for such agencies​​​​​​.

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Do Gaza civilians work in Israel?

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Palestinian workers crossing the border into Israel. Credit: Amiram Brutman’s FB page.

Palestinian workers crossing the border into Israel. Credit: Amiram Brutman’s FB page.

In the tumultuous landscape of the Middle East, the Gaza Strip stands out as a region of particular hardship and complexity. Among the many facets of life in Gaza, the opportunity for civilians to work in Israel has been a topic of significant discussion and controversy. This article delves into the intricate dynamics of Gazan civilians working in Israel over the past few years, exploring its impact on Gaza’s economy, and examining the broader geopolitical implications.

Gazan Workers in Israel: A Recent Overview

Palestinian construction workers in Israel. Credit: ‘Globes English’ FB page.

Palestinian construction workers in Israel. Credit: ‘Globes English’ FB page.

The history of Gazan workers working in Israel is marked by shifts in policy and circumstance. Following Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel largely closed its borders to Gazan workers. However, in recent years, Israel has issued up to 15,500 work permits to Gazans, allowing them to cross into the country for employment. This shift marks a significant development, as these workers are among the first from Gaza to work officially in Israel since 2007​​.

Economic Effects on Gaza

The return of Gazan workers to Israel has had a notable, albeit limited, impact on the Gaza economy. While individuals can earn substantially more than what’s possible in Gaza, the overall effect on Gaza’s wider economy is minimal, but beneficial for the individual who will be able to fully support his family needs. With a heavily constricted economy under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the permits inject about $1 million a day into Gaza’s economy – a small amount given the scale of economic challenges faced by the 2.3 million population of the region​​.

Work Permits: Leverage and Lifeline

For many Gazans, these work permits are not just about employment; they represent a lifeline for better living conditions. The permits also give Israel a form of leverage over Hamas. For instance, Israel can decide to avoid giving further permits, thus affecting the individual economy of Gaza. 

Involvement on October 7t, 2023  Attack Plans

A critical aspect of the discourse around Gazan civilians working in Israel is their alleged involvement in the October 7th attack. Reports indicate that individuals with work permits in Israel gathered information about Israeli cities and settlements in the south, contributing to the planning of this brutal attack. This development highlights a darker side of the work permit system, revealing how it can potentially be exploited for purposes other than economic relief. The incident underscores the complexity of this issue, where the need for employment and economic sustenance in Gaza intersects with security concerns in Israel. It’s a stark reminder of the intricate and often tense relationship between these two, influenced by a history of conflict and the ongoing geopolitical dynamics.

Current State of Work Permits

As of now, after the October 7 attack and the ground entry into Gaza in order to capture all those who were involved in the attack, Israel decided to ban residents of Gaza from entering to work, until further notice. In general, it is safe to say that the situation with work permits for Gaza civilians remains a delicate balance. Israel often describes these permits as goodwill measures. The permits are subject to Israel’s assessment of the security situation, with increase or decrease in the number of permits often linked to the level of calm or tension in the region​​. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the granting of work permits to Gazan civilians to work in Israel is a multifaceted issue, interwoven with economic necessity, geopolitical leverage, and the pursuit to give a lifeline to Gaza’s residents. While providing a critical source of income for individual Gazan families, the permits also serve as a strategic tool in the complex relationship between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The future of these work permits and their impact on both Gaza’s economy depends on the outcomes of the current “Iron Swords” operation and the ability of the Israelis to feel safe again in their own country.

 

 

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