Israel Must Cut Off Hamas’s Access to Cash

May 27, 2021 | Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
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President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have made clear that they wish America to aid in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, and the amelioration of its overall material situation, while making sure that these funds don’t go to Hamas. But it is not at all clear how this can be done, given the terrorist group’s tight control over the territory and the willingness of such institutions as UNRWA—the UN organization that provides aid to Palestinians—to cooperate with it. Israel, for its part, has long allowed Qatar to support Hamas with large cash payments. But Nitsana Darshan-Leitner suggests an alternative:

The truth is simple: money transferred to the Gaza Strip cannot be monitored. Not by international organizations whose functionaries answer to Hamas, not by charities—as their infrastructure is an integral part of Hamas and the public sympathy for it—and certainly not by the Palestinian Authority, which has no power over the Strip whatsoever. . . . [A]ny cash that goes into Gaza finds its way to Hamas’s military goals.

Israel must now inform Qatar and European countries that if they want to support the impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, they are more than welcome to send as many containers of food, medicine, clothing, toys, textbooks, furniture, etc. as they want. Want to pay for fuel and electricity? Excellent. But keep the cash. Dollars only buy ammunition and Israel will no longer allow it into Gaza.

A terrorist group cannot pay operatives without banks, communicate without technological means, or operate in general without lawyers and accountants. . . . The thousands of rockets [Hamas] has developed, the missiles it purchased, the underground city it dug [for conducting military operations], the stipends paid to terrorists and their families—all cost more than a billion dollars.

To this end, Darshan-Leitner concludes, Israel must follow up its military offensive against the terrorist group with a financial one—otherwise it is merely allowing Hamas to build back what the IDF just destroyed.

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