Archive for the ‘Hamas funding’ category

When Israel Took Out Hamas’ $13 Million Payroll With a Drone

November 9, 2017

When Israel Took Out Hamas’ $13 Million Payroll With a Drone, The Point (FrontPage Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, November 9, 2017

An interesting anecdote from Nitsana Darshan-Leitner’s new bookHarpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, that shows that drones and financial warfare against terrorists don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

The book recounts that Israeli intelligence “had learned that the elite of the Hamas force… were rumbling to their wives and families over not being paid… their salaries in weeks. Their anger was close to undermining the entire military campaign… The lack of money meant that the families of the fighters couldn’t buy food and clothing… Hamas leaders warned of insurrection. Calls were made for an emergency delivery of dollars.”

On August 23, 2014, Israel’s intelligence services picked up the trail of a main in his 20s traveling across Sinai with $13 million in cash packed inside four large leather suitcases.

He eventually arrived at “a tunnel, well illuminated and ventilated [that] had been dug underneath the safe house… At just before dawn, the envoy sent a brief SMS message to his patrons… waiting for the money on the Gaza side of the tunnel… The text consisted of a code word indicating that the courier was coming across; the phone… was destroyed immediately after the message was sent,” the authors recount.

After an hour, when the man was almost across the tunnel and “a smile came over his face. The cash had been delivered. His mission was over… A black Mercedes… was waiting for the luggage. Inside the car was Mohammed el-Ghoul, Hamas’s head of payroll.” He connected Hamas with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qatar and the various Gulf Arab states – and sources of money generally.

The celebration was interrupted by an Israel Air Force AH-64D Longbow attack helicopter that, with the push of a button, sent a single AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missile slamming into Ghoul’s Chinese-made car.

“The sedan evaporated into a fireball and a cloud of black smoke… the skies turned green as a storm of singed $100 bills cascaded onto the dusty streets of Gaza City…. The payroll’s incineration was a major blow to Hamas. Without the cash they could not maintain the struggle. Hamas asked for a cease-fire,” says the book.

You can hazard a guess whom Hamas was getting the money from.

That would be Mohammed Al-Ghoul, Hamas’ Justice Minister. As opposed to Mohammed Al-Ghoul who carried out the Jerusalem bus bombing in ’02 which killed 19 people. There are a lot of Mohammed Al-Ghouls and quite a few ghoulish Mohammeds.

“Israeli Kills Hamas Financial Officer in Airstrike.” That’s how Voice of America reported that story.

Al-Ghoul was the contact person for the 2009 Goldstone report which accused Israel of “war crimes” in Operation Cast Lead, before Judge Richard Goldstone later retracted that core accusation of the report.

Of course he was.

The Iran-Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel

October 23, 2017

The Iran-Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, October 23, 2017

Abbas and the Egyptians were probably naïve to think that Hamas would disarm and allow Abbas loyalists to deploy in the Gaza Strip after the signing of the “reconciliation” agreement. It is possible that some of the Hamas leaders had lied to Abbas and the Egyptians by hinting that Hamas would give up security control of the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians, who played a major role in brokering the Hamas-Fatah deal, are also believed to be worried about Iran’s renewed meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. Both the Palestinian Authority and Egypt see the visit of the Hamas delegation to Iran as a serious setback to the “reconciliation” agreement and as a sign that Hamas is not sincere about implementing the accord.

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Iran’s goal in this move? For Hamas to maintain and enhance its preparation for war against Israel.

Iran’s message to Hamas: If you want us to continue providing you with financial and military aid, you must continue to hold on to your weapons and reject demands to disarm.

Iran wants Hamas to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip so that the Iranians can hold onto another power base in the Middle East, as it does with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In a historic reawakening, Iran is once again meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. This does not bode well for the future of “reconciliation” between Hamas and Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction run by President Mahmoud Abbas.The re-emergence of Iran, as it pursues its efforts to increase its political and military presence in the region, does not bode well for the future of stability in the Middle East.

The Iranians are urging Hamas to hold on to its weapons in spite of the recent “reconciliation” agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah under the auspices of Egypt. Iran’s goal in this move? For Hamas to maintain and enhance its preparation for war against Israel.

A high-level Hamas delegation headed by Saleh Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’s “political bureau,” traveled to Tehran last week to brief Iranian leaders on the “reconciliation” deal with Fatah. During the visit, Iranian leaders praised Hamas for resisting demands (by Fatah) to disarm and relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip.

“We congratulate you on your refusal to abandon your weapons, an issue that you consider as a red line,” Ali Velayati, a senior Iranian politician and advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, told the visiting Hamas officials. “The Palestinian cause is the most important cause of the Islamic world, and after all this time you remain committed to the principle of resistance against the Zionists despite all the pressure you are facing.”

During the visit of a high-level Hamas delegation to Iran last week, Ali Velayati (pictured above in 2016), a senior Iranian politician and advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the visiting Hamas officials: “We congratulate you on your refusal to abandon your weapons…” (Image source: Hamed Malekpour/Wikimdia Commons)

Arouri and his colleagues rushed to Tehran to seek the support of the Iranian regime in the wake of demands by Abbas that Hamas allow the Palestinian Authority to assume security control over the Gaza Strip. The “reconciliation” agreement stipulates nothing about the need for Hamas to disarm, and Hamas officials have stressed during the past two weeks that they have no intention of laying down their weapons or dismantling their security apparatus in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas views the demand to disarm as part of an Israeli-American “conspiracy” designed to eliminate the Palestinian “resistance” and thwart the “reconciliation” accord with Abbas’s Fatah. Hamas’s refusal to disarm is already threatening to spoil the “reconciliation.”

Arouri was quoted during his visit to Tehran as saying that Hamas “will not backtrack on the option of defending the Palestinian people.” He specified that the “reconciliation” agreement with Fatah would not affect the weapons of the Palestinian “resistance,” including Hamas. Hamas, he added, will “confront the Israeli-American conspiracy through national unity and reconciliation and by continuing the resistance. The Palestinian resistance forces will always stick to their weapons and will not lay them down.”

Hamas also sees the visit of its top officials to Tehran as a rejection of Israel’s demand that it cut off its ties with Iran. Hamas officials say they continue to see their relations with Iran as “strategic and significant,” especially in wake of Tehran’s financial and military aid to their movement in the Gaza Strip.

By aligning itself with Iran, Hamas is also seeking to resist any demand that it abandon its ideology and charter, which call for the destruction of Israel and oppose any peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

Iranian officials apparently do not like Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and are not keen on seeing them return to the Gaza Strip. Iran considers Abbas a “traitor” because his Palestinian Authority conducts security coordination with Israel in the West Bank and claims that it is committed to a “peace process” with Israel. This position goes against Iran’s wish to destroy the “Zionist entity.”

Abbas, for his part, has always considered Iran a threat to his regime as well as to stability in the region. In the past, he has criticized Iran for “meddling” in the internal affairs of the Palestinians by supporting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority strongly condemned Iran after a senior Iranian official accused Abbas of waging war in the Gaza Strip on behalf of Israel. The official’s statement came in response to a series of punitive measures imposed by Abbas on the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, accused Iran of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and some Arab countries. He said that Iran’s actions “encouraged divisions” among the Palestinians. “Iran must stop feeding civil wars in the Arab world,” he said. “Iran must stop using rhetoric that only serves Israel and the enemies of the Arabs.”

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are now convinced that Iran is working towards foiling the “reconciliation” agreement with Hamas. They believe that Iran invited the Hamas leaders to Tehran to pressure them not to lay down its weapons.

Abbas and the Egyptians were probably naïve to think that Hamas would disarm and allow Abbas loyalists to deploy in the Gaza Strip after the signing of the “reconciliation” agreement. It is possible that some of the Hamas leaders had lied to Abbas and the Egyptians by hinting that Hamas would give up security control of the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians, who played a major role in brokering the Hamas-Fatah deal, are also believed to be worried about Iran’s renewed meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. Both the Palestinian Authority and Egypt see the visit of the Hamas delegation to Iran as a serious setback to the “reconciliation” agreement and as a sign that Hamas is not sincere about implementing the accord.

Some Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials have recently claimed that Israel was not happy with their “reconciliation” agreement and was doing its utmost to foil it. The truth, however, is that it is Iran and Hamas that are working to thwart the agreement by insisting on maintaining the status quo in the Gaza Strip. Iran’s message to Hamas: If you want us to continue providing you with financial and military aid, you must continue to hold on to your weapons and reject demands to disarm.

What is in it for Iran? Iran wants Hamas to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip so that the Iranians can hold onto another power base in the Middle East.

Iran wants Hamas to continue playing the role of a proxy, precisely as Hezbollah functions in Lebanon.

The last thing Iran wants is for the Palestinian Authority security forces to return to the Gaza Strip: that would spoil Tehran’s plans to advance its goal of destroying Israel.

Iran’s continued support for Hamas stems not out of love for either Hamas or the Palestinians, but from its own interest in consolidating its presence in the Middle East.

Many Palestinians see the “successful” visit of the Hamas officials to Tehran as a major setback for efforts to end the 10-year-long Hamas-Fatah dispute. Similarly, the Egyptians are now wary of the sudden rapprochement between Iran and Hamas and are beginning to ask themselves whether they have been duped by Hamas. An Israeli delegation that visited Cairo on the eve of the signing of the Hamas-Fatah deal is said to have warned the Egyptians that the “reconciliation” would not work unless Hamas disarms and severs its ties with Iran. However, the Egyptians reportedly failed to listen to the Israeli warning.

As for Israel, the US and other Western parties, the lesson to be drawn from the renewal of ties between Hamas and Iran is that Hamas has not changed one iota.

Contrary to delusional hopes, discussed on the heels of the “reconciliation” agreement in Cairo and based on lies and thin air, Hamas is not headed toward moderation and pragmatism. By openly supporting Hamas, Iran is once again demonstrating that it aims to fan the fire in the Middle East and continue to sabotage any prospects for peace.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor

October 5, 2017

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, October 5, 2017

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

Iran/Hizballah noose tightens around Israel

September 1, 2017

Iran/Hizballah noose tightens around Israel, DEBKAfile, September 1, 2017

Seen from the strategic-military angle, Israel can be said to have regressed 11 years to 2006, when two foes were poised menacingly on its northern and southern borders. Israel was then compelled to fight a war against Hizballah in Lebanon. This time, the conflict could potentially flare up simultaneously on three fronts – Lebanon, Gaza and Syria.

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Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, challenged the international community to hold Iran to account on Thursday, Aug. 31, after the Islamic Republic showed its “true colors” by restoring its ties with the Palestinian extremist Hamas. In her statement, she described as “stunning” the Hamas leader’s boast that Tehran is again the biggest provider of money and arms. The breach between them followed the terrorist group’s refusal to side with Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war.

“Iran must decide whether it wants to be a member of the community of nations that can be expected to take its international obligations seriously, or whether it wants to be the leader of a jihadist terrorist movement. It cannot be both,” Haley said in her statement.

Islamic Iran has long made that decision, as the ambassador knows very well from the intelligence reports she sees. But her brave words were meant as a wakeup call for the rapid advances made by Iran and Hizballah during August to impose their will on the Middle East, often with great stealth.

Haley will have learned about the Aug. 2 meeting in Beirut between Hamas’s military chief Salah al-Arouri and Iranian officials, following which Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that the Palestinian rulers of the Gaza Strip were worthy of restored military and financial aid.

That deal was clinched at the highest level in Tehran, after Arouri and a delegation from Gaza were received by top Iranian officials, including Revolutionary Guards General Qassem Soleimani. He is not only commander of Iran’s Middle East warfronts, but also head of Al Qods, which runs Iran’s intelligence, subversion and terror networks.

These events and their ramifications were itemized in the latest issue of DEBKA Weekly, out Friday, Sept. 1.

It was Soleimani who assigned Hamas and its military arm with its next tasks. Since both parties are dedicated to violent tactics (terror) to achieve their ends, one of which is the destruction of the State of Israel, all that remains to be seen is the precise form the Iranian-backed Hamas-Hizballah partnership will take – and where. Those practicalities were aired at the secret sessions between Hamas and Al Qods in Tehran

Present at some of those sessions were also Soleimani’s secret agents and heads of the terrorist networks he runs across the Middle East and in the Gulf emirates.

The inauguration ceremony for Hassan Rouhani’s second term as Iran’s president on Aug. 5 provided a convenient cover for these get-togethers.

Nikki Haley’s warning to the international community was prompted by these dangerous events. Although her words were powerful, telling and timely, it is hard to see any sign of their being followed up by other parts of the Trump administration.

With the southern front against Israel in the bag, Iran and Hizballah this week put together its northern front, just two or three kilometers from Israel’s Golan border with Syria. This could not have happened without the Trump administration submitting to Russia’s demand to revise their de-escalation zone project for the Syrian Golan, so that Iranian and Hizballah forces are no longer required to distance themselves 40-50km from the zone, but only 8km.

Iran and Hizballah in Syria have in consequence been quietly shortening their distance from the Israeli border. But this week, they made a major leap forward, when the Russian monitors brought a group of Iranian and Hizballah officers all the way to Quneitra. There, they were given a base under Russian protection within sight of the Israeli Golan.

Tehran and its pawn therefore used the month of August to climb into position for drawing a noose around Israel and tightening it at will.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week boasted that his tenure was marked by relative calm. Israel, he said, had successfully avoided getting embroiled in any major war.

That is correct. However, his policy of preserving the calm and maintaining a purely defensive stance has carried a price. That price was totted up on Sept. 1. By then, Iran and Iran had been able to move unopposed into position on Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon in the north and had crept up to the Gaza border in the south.

Seen from the strategic-military angle, Israel can be said to have regressed 11 years to 2006, when two foes were poised menacingly on its northern and southern borders. Israel was then compelled to fight a war against Hizballah in Lebanon. This time, the conflict could potentially flare up simultaneously on three fronts – Lebanon, Gaza and Syria.

Congress Seeks to Cut U.S. Aid to Islamic Charity Tied to Terror

August 29, 2017

Congress Seeks to Cut U.S. Aid to Islamic Charity Tied to Terror, Washington Free Beacon, August 28, 2017

Getty Images

A new congressional measure seeks to cut all U.S. funding for an Islamic charity that has been banned in some countries for providing assistance to Hamas and other terror-tied organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

The new measure, which was proposed as an amendment to Congress’s yearly appropriations bill, which sets U.S. expenditures, would ban any taxpayer funds from being provided to Islamic Relief Worldwide, or IRW, a global charitable organization that has been linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

IRW is banned in some Middle Eastern countries for its alleged support of terror organizations, though the United States has continued to provide taxpayer funds to the organization under the Obama administration, sparking outrage among some lawmakers and regional experts.

The move to ban U.S. funding to IRW was authored by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who told the Free Beacon that the U.S. taxpayers should not be giving to any organization tied to terror movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, which continues to support extremist activities.

“U.S. tax dollars cannot go to groups involved in funding terrorism,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon. “Any group tied to Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood should be ineligible for funding.  It is a slap in the face of the American taxpayer to allow such groups to receive federal funding.”

IRW has been a source of tension for some time. Congressional leaders and terrorism experts expressed shock at the Obama administration in 2015, when the Free Beacon disclosed the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, a taxpayer funded group, had awarded IRW $100,000 in grants.

The Obama administration awarded IRW another $270,000 in 2016 via a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The effort to ban IRW from receiving any further taxpayer funds is part of a larger effort by DeSantis and others to isolate Muslim Brotherhood-tied organizations and other terror groups that have cashed in on American taxpayer funds through a range of questionable third-party organization.

IRW is banned in both the United Arab Emirates and Israel after investigations determined the group has ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other extremist entities bound up in terror financing schemes, according to multiple reports.

An independent investigation by the Israeli government sparked allegations the charity was providing material support to Hamas and its operatives.

The charity “provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged in 2006. “The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives.”

IRW was also cited as a “hub for donations from charities accused of links to al Qaeda and other terror groups,” according to a separate investigation conducted by the Gatestone Institute.

The charity’s “accounts show that it has partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism and that some of the charity’s trustees are personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror,” according to report, which was authored by terrorism analyst Samuel Westrop.

Israeli authorities arrested IRW’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali, in 2006 due to his alleged work on Hamas’s behalf.

“Incriminating files were found on Ali’s computer, including documents that attested to the organization’s ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus,” Israel’s foreign affairs ministry said at the time. “Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities.”

More arrests as terror stalks Jerusalem again

August 16, 2017

More arrests as terror stalks Jerusalem again, DEBKAfile, August 16, 2017

Finding the UAE funding Hamas terror was somewhat of a shocker to Israel.  After all, the emirate formally joined the anti-terror coalition that US President Donald Trump created during his visit to Riyadh and later to Israel in early April.

Obviously, Israel’s sovereign presence on Temple Mount, which is holy to three monotheistic faiths and claimed by Muslims, is an abidingly explosive issue. Last month’s crisis centering on the shrine, appears to have abated – but only on the face of it. The embers of the conflagration continue to simmer under the surface of the site and the city.

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Three major Israeli counter-terror operations in a week (Aug.10-16) are a measure of the intensity of terrorist plots for the commission of mass-casualty strikes in Jerusalem.

On Aug. 10, a combined effort of the Shin Bet, the police and the IDF, led to five Palestinians from Hebron being intercepted in the Palestinian Jerusalem neighborhood of El Azaria on their way to an attack. No details of this plot were released. But it was obvious that the five terrorists, armed with guns and explosives, were only stopped at the last minute from reaching the center of Jerusalem, just 15 minutes drive from El Azaria, and conducting a major attack.

Then, on Saturday, Aug. 12, a Palestinian woman knifed a man on Suleiman Street in East Jerusalem, mistaking him for a Jew. He turned out to be a local Arab Christian and was not badly hurt, before a police patrol nabbed the woman.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, a suspect was shot in the foot while resisting arrest at Bet Tsafafa, in southern Jerusalem . The police later reported they acted on a Shin Bet tipoff that the suspect, a resident of the mixed Abu Tor neighborhood, was primed for a terror operation.

On Monday, Aug. 14, indictments were filed at the Jerusalem district court against three residents of East Jerusalem on charges of plotting a shooting attack, as well as targeting police forces and persistent rock attacks on traffic – all in Jerusalem. They were also accused of planning to loose gunfire and explosive devices on vehicles using the Nablus bypass. This group therefore harbored ambitions for a widespread terrorist offensive in and outside Jerusalem.

Although Israel’s security authorities are cagey with the information they release on the mostly covert war they wage on Palestinian and Israeli Arab terror, three geographical areas may be marked out as significant: They are metropolitan Jerusalem including Bethlehem; Hebron – the city and mountain district; and the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, northeast of Tel Aviv, which was the home town of the three gunmen who shot dead two policemen on Temple Mount on July 14.

Each location occupies a special place on the terror map.

The terrorist networks of Hebron and its environs are mostly tied ideologically and operationally to the extremist Palestinian Hamas. In the past fortnight, Hamas was found to be receiving large sums of money, most of it coming from sources in the United Arab Republic in the Persian Gulf. Some of the cash was funneled to Judea and Samaria and provided those networks with an extra incentive to go into action.

Finding the UAE funding Hamas terror was somewhat of a shocker to Israel.  After all, the emirate formally joined the anti-terror coalition that US President Donald Trump created during his visit to Riyadh and later to Israel in early April.

The terrorist cells operating in Jerusalem mostly belong to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, or its militia, the Tanzim. Most are fringe groups that are not directly associated with their leaders. But the fact that they are free to perform acts of violence against Israelis is worrying Israeli security authorities.

The networks of Umm al-Fahm and its rural villages appear to be ideologically inspired by the outlawed Northern Branch of the Israeli Arab Muslim Movement (which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood), or directly tied to the Islamic State command center in Syria.

At least 20 Israeli Arabs are known to have crossed into Syria to fight in ISIS ranks, some of them from Umm Al-Fahm.

Last Friday, Aug. 11, an indictment was filed against two residents of the town, who were preparing to leave for Syria and join the Islamic State. They were being helped by a former resident who had already reached Syria and was fighting with ISIS. One of the accused belonged to the same Jabarin clan as the murderers of police officers on Temple Mount.

Then, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, police arrived at the Umm Al-Fahm home of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the banned Northern Branch of the Israeli Muslim Movement, with a warrant for his arrest. He was accused of publicly inciting to violence and terror and membership of an illegal organization.

Salah has been in and out of Israeli prisons for years over his fiery hate-filled sermons, which regularly call on his followers to “fight for the liberation” of Al Aqsa. Last year, he was locked up for calling on Israeli Arabs to join a Palestinian uprising against the state of Israel.

However, this time, the wide publicity given to his arrest so soon after the Temple Mount clashes – in an attempt to press charges serious enough to keep him behind lock and key for the long term – has brought the firebrand sheikh solid sympathy among sections of the Israeli Arab populace.

Obviously, Israel’s sovereign presence on Temple Mount, which is holy to three monotheistic faiths and claimed by Muslims, is an abidingly explosive issue. Last month’s crisis centering on the shrine, appears to have abated – but only on the face of it. The embers of the conflagration continue to simmer under the surface of the site and the city.

Islamic Relief Fails a Whitewash

July 3, 2017

Islamic Relief Fails a Whitewash, Gatestone InstituteSamuel Westrop, July 3, 2017

(Please see also, What Hamas Wants. — DM)

Even if the Canadian branch of Islamic Relief claims not to have directly funded these Hamas groups, its own accounts reveal grants of millions of dollars to its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, which oversees the movement of money to a number of Hamas fronts.

Islamic Relief branches also receive money from several terror-linked Middle Eastern charities, including those established by Sheikh al Zindani, whom the US government has designated a “Global Terrorist.”

Islamic Relief did not much care for the exposé. Reyhana Patel, a senior figure at its Canadian branch, first persuaded the Post to bowdlerize the article by removing some of the sourced material and adding sentences in defense of Islamic Relief.

On May 20, a Muslim cleric, Nouman Ali Khan spoke at a fundraising event in Toronto for Islamic Relief, one of the largest Muslim charities in the world.

Khan preaches that prostitutes and pornographic actors are “filth” and that “you have to punish them … They’re not killed; they’re whipped. And they’re whipped a hundred times.” Khan has also declared that God gives men “license” to beat unfaithful wives, and that Muslim women are committing a “crime” if they object to the religious text that he says permits this abuse.

Muslim cleric Nouman Ali Khan says that God gives men “license” to beat unfaithful wives, and that Muslim women are committing a “crime” if they object to the religious text that he says permits this abuse. (Image source: Rossi101/Wikimedia Commons)

Before the event took place, this author had written about Khan and Islamic Relief in the National Post, with the help of colleagues at the Middle East Forum.

Islamic Relief did not much care for the exposé. Reyhana Patel, a senior figure at its Canadian branch, first persuaded the Post to bowdlerize the article by removing some of the sourced material and adding sentences in defense of Islamic Relief.

Patel then published in the Post a response that denounced our research as “false… one-sided and unsubstantiated.”

Really? In a rather major failing, she failed even to address Nouman Ali Khan’s presence at the Islamic Relief event.

Instead, she boasted of her own humanitarian goodness and attacked the Middle East Forum (MEF) as an “anti-Muslim think tank” that “uses some of its resources to paint a negative picture of Islam and Muslims.” MEF has always, in fact, argued the very opposite. It believes that if radical Islam is the problem, then moderate Islam is the solution. This very maxim can be found in dozens of articles on its website. MEF supports a number of moderate Muslim groups working to challenge extremism, and encourages others to do the same.

It is old habit of Islamists to accuse anti-Islamist activists of being anti-Muslim, because it allows them misleadingly to conflate Islam and Islamism. That obfuscation severely inhibits the work of moderate Muslims trying to free their faith from the grip of these extremists.

Patel’s only reference to the charges of Middle East Forum, in fact, appears to be a deliberate misquote. She writes that MEF “labelled Islamic Relief Canada a ‘terrorist organization which regularly gives platforms to preachers who incite hatred against women, Jews, homosexuals and Muslim minorities.'” Islamic Relief does indeed regularly give platforms to such preachers — Nouman Ali Khan is just one example in the weekly pattern of this charity and its branches across the world.

But MEF did not claim that Islamic Relief was a “terrorist organization.” I wrote that it was “financially linked with a number of terrorist groups.” Islamic Relief branches have, for example, indeed given money to several groups in Gaza linked to the designated terrorist group Hamas. These include the Al Falah Benevolent Society, which the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre describes as one of “Hamas’s charitable societies.” And even if the Canadian branch of Islamic Relief claims not to have directly funded these Hamas groups, its own accounts reveal grants of millions of dollars to its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, which oversees the movement of money to a number of Hamas fronts.

Islamic Relief branches also receives money from several terror-linked Middle Eastern charities, including those established by Sheikh al Zindani, whom the US government has designated a “Global Terrorist.”

Although MEF believes that Islamic Relief is financially linked to terror, no one wrote that the charity itself is a terrorist organization. Others, however, are less circumspect. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates designated Islamic Relief as a terrorist organization. And in 2016, the banking giant HSBC shut down Islamic Relief’s bank accounts in the United Kingdom “amid concerns that cash for aid could end up with terrorist groups abroad.”

Perhaps Reyhana Patel hoped that by smearing the Middle East Forum, and telling her readers about her love of “diversity … tolerance and inclusion,” she could sell Islamic Relief as a force for good. The charity’s regular promotion of hate preachers and financial links to terrorist groups, however, says otherwise.

And is Patel herself really so dedicated to supporting peace and tolerance? Her social media posts and a short-lived career as a journalist suggest not. Patel has a history, it seems, of attacking organizations that oppose religious extremism. In 2014, Patel wrote an article condemning Student Rights, a British organization that works to expose homophobia, racism and other forms of extremism on campus. Without seriously addressing the group’s research, Patel described the organization as “sensationalist and misleading.” Sound familiar?

Patel has also defended gender-segregation imposed by Muslim student groups at Britain’s public universities, and then complained that Muslim women who oppose this misogynistic behavior “seem to want to discredit and deamonise [sic] me.”

Further, Patel has expressed praise for Malia Bouattia, a prominent student activist in Britain whose anti-Semitism was the subject of national media coverage. In 2011, Bouattia condemned a university with a large Jewish population as a “Zionist outpost.” In 2014, she opposed a motion at a student conference that condemned ISIS on the grounds that such condemnation was “Islamophobic.” That same year, a British parliamentary report concluded that Bouattia was guilty of “outright racism.”

If this is the company Reyhana Patel keeps, then perhaps Nouman Ali Khan’s extremism is a perfect fit for Islamic Relief Canada.

Islamic Relief was designated a terrorist organization by a pious Muslim country. Western banks have closed its accounts over terrorism concerns, and, just last month, Britain’s Charity Commission starting investigating the charity for hosting a preacher who justifies killing homosexuals.

The Islamic Relief franchise is a charitable front for extremism in the West. That it has managed to build a favorable reputation is testament to the careful doublespeak of its officials. Such duplicity should not be tolerated.

Samuel Westrop is the Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.