Palestine, a country that even Mahmoud Abbas or Ismail Haniyeh don’t want


Palestine is not a state and there is nothing called ‘State of Palestine’. Instead, there is an organ called ‘Palestinian Authority’ which is currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas. So, his proclamation of being the “president” of Palestinian Authority is no different than anyone claiming to be the president or chairman of any organization or club. In this case, one may ask – can a club or organization send diplomats, ambassadors of consuls to a foreign country? If someone would follow diplomatic rules or procedures, possibly there is no scope in accepting a representative of any organization or club as a diplomat. Moreover, representative offices of Palestinian Authority are proclaiming themselves as “Embassy of the State of Palestine”, despite the fact, this very “State of Palestine” does not legally exist. Even Mahmoud Abbas is not the president of anything called “State of Palestine”. He heads an organization called Palestinian Authority.

For those who may not agree to my argument, here are some points.

Following images are of passports issued by Palestinian Authority, and until today, there is no passport which is issued by “State of Palestine”. If there was anything called “State of Palestine”, why the passports are being issued by Palestinian Authority and not State of Palestine?

Palestinian Authority does not have its own central bank or any currency. Back in 2016, Mahmoud Abbas told media that he was going to introduce currency of Palestinian Authority, which until date has not been implemented. Instead, Palestinians are using Israeli ‘Shekel’ and Jordanian Dinar.

And, why Mahmoud Abbas is actually not willing to replace his private club or business organization named ‘Palestinian Authority’ into ‘State of Palestine’? The reply is though very simple, Abbas has very successfully duped Palestinians into opium of baseless dream and been stealing billions of dollars years-after-years – xeroxing the practice of his predecessor -Yasser Arafat. While Mahmoud Abbas is making tons of cash through political stunt, his actual counterpart Ismail Haniyeh is running his money-making terrorist conglomerate thus ensuring infinite luxury and wealth to his wives and children – thus pushing Palestinians into continuous sufferings.

Why Palestine is not a state. I asked this question to a scholar who lived two years in Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Gaza and other cities. In response to my question – why Palestine is not a state, he said:

This question is very complicated and there are many things to take into account. The answer may vary depending on your point of view. In practice, there is no sovereign and independent Palestine. The repeated phrase is “Free Palestine”, which explicitly implies that Palestine is under the Israeli occupation. Poland was also occupied in 1939 and they were definitely a country, but the difference is that the territory claimed by Palestinian nationalists (at least officially) was under the rule of Egypt and Jordan before they were captured by Israel in 1967. The UN non-member observer state is known as the “State of Palestine”, recognized as a sovereign state by 138 UN members representing most of the human population, was declared only in 1988. So, Palestine was declared a country while under occupation and was never fully released from this occupation.

The somewhat independent Palestinian bodies are not part of this UN state. In 1994, Israel established the Palestinian National Authority (PA), which served as an interim government that would provide extended autonomy to the Palestinian and releases them from direct Israeli control over their internal affairs.

In 2005 Israel withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the PA assumed full control over the territory. It could serve as a test to see how can the Palestinians handle themselves independently, as they had a full military and civilian control over the territory. It took no more than two years for a civil war to take place and end with Hamas, the main Palestinian opposition, to take over the Gaza Strip and expel members of the opposing Fatah party, which signed all the agreements with Israel.

Today there are two Palestines – one in Gaza and one in the West Bank, and they arguably trust each other less than they trust Israel.

It is pretty clear that Palestine has no government, no citizens, no borders, and no sovereignty. All of these exist only on paper, but not in practice. I spent two years in the West Bank and I can tell you it was much more Israeli than Palestinian in terms of statehood because the territory is under direct and indirect Israeli rule for over 50 years.

Another expert said, “The Palestinian Authority, which likes to call itself the State of Palestine, isn’t a country because it doesn’t have sovereign control over any territory. All it has legally is certain administrative responsibilities, short of sovereignty, that Israel delegated to it on a trial basis under the Oslo Accords”.

Images of passports issued by Palestinian Authority, not State of Palestine.

That means, there is nothing called “State of Palestine”. Moreover, it is evidently proved, individuals like Mahmoud Abbas, Ismail Haniyeh and others are using this statehood as a means of making tons of cash and ensure luxury for their children. None of them want anything else as they know, once there really is anything called State of Palestine, they will lose the monopoly opportunity of making tons of cash without any accountability. In fact, both the parties will end up in prison on charges of corruption, terrorism etcetera, while they even may face gallows.

Let us look into some of the references related to Palestine.

A layman’s journey to the history of Palestine: Being a naïve, it was my great curiosity to know the historic background of the Palestinian people or a country named Palestine…

The map of Palestine doesn’t show the existence of any Palestinians: The map of Palestine was an amendment of a map originated during the latter years of Ottoman rule, After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the same map was used by the political bureaucrats working on the Sykes – Picot Agreement 1916 to divide the geography and to agree the spheres of influence of the victors

The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine: What does the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine (HKOP) article propose that is so totally different from years of the political status quo…

Supporting Palestine statehood goes against Islam and Koran: The paradox of all paradoxes? Perhaps. Nevertheless, the subject title is not only true as we shall verify by reference to sources but is considered by many and a growing group of religious scholars and researchers to be the fundamental cause of the turmoil currently engulfing Islam and her followers…

Jordan as the State of Palestine: The vaunted two-state solution is defunct, because the Palestinian Arabs want to annihilate Israel, not “live alongside of Israel in peace.” The one-state solution has its own insurmountable problems. So, what is the best alternative other than continuing the status quo? Jordan as the State of Palestine…

The moral incongruity of Hamas’ narco-terrorism: The web we ignore at our peril: In the sprawling labyrinth of geopolitical tension and ideological struggle that characterizes the Middle East, there’s a question that has become increasingly difficult to avoid: How can an organization like Hamas—operating in a territory where the majority of inhabitants languish below the poverty line—muster an estimated annual budget of US$350 million? The answer to this question reveals not just a local anomaly but a global network of moral and financial corruption that we ignore at our peril…

Nakba, a myth being morphed into facts: For simply having a ‘secret’ meeting with an Israeli Minister, the Foreign Minister of Libya, Najla El Mangoush was removed from her post and had to flee for her safety to Turkey…

False statehood of the Palestinians: Despite the fact that the majority of the UN member nations have already recognized Palestine as a sovereign state, the very statehood of the Palestinians has become lifeless…

Myth, falsehood and promoters of Falestine: I will not be surprised if Falestinians claim London was their capital or they had been driven out from Saudi Arabia…

Palestinian narrative is based on lies and revisionist history: Since their creation in the 1960’s, the Palestinian agenda, as stated in both their charters (the Palestinian Nation Council charter 1964 amended 1968 and the 1988 Palestinian Hamas charter) is the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel…

No Palestinian land was ever stolen: The only land in dispute which Israel occupies not within her legally defined borders is the Golan but as Syria is still technically at war with Israel that geography may still legally be occupied by any warring party until the conflict is officially terminated…

The claim for a Palestinian State a political confidence trick: The fraudulent claims of the Palestinian base case can easily be exposed by asking two very simple questions to those supporting the Palestinian cause. I often ask this in debates and NEVER receive an answer. These questions should be asked by all of Israel’s supporters to all of Israel’s opponents…

For Arabs living in Gaza and West Bank, it is essential to actually understand how they have been fooled by Palestinian Authority, Fatah party, Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Corruption of Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Authority leaders

On February 6, 2006, British newspaper The Guardian in a report titled ‘Palestinian Authority ‘may have lost billions’ wrote:

The Palestinian attorney general said he had uncovered the theft or misuse of US$700m (£400m) of public funds, and suspects much more has gone missing, in an inquiry into widespread official corruption. Ahmed al-Meghami said billions of dollars may have been misappropriated in total and that his office has ordered 25 arrests to date and issued 10 international warrants relating to fraud within the Palestinian Authority (PA).

On October 13, 2013, Britain’s The Sunday Times in a report titled ‘£1.95bn EU aid lost in Palestine’ said:

Billions of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors, the Luxembourg-based watchdog.

Brussels transferred more than £1.95bn to the occupied territories between 2008 and 2012 but had little control over how it was spent, the auditors say in an unpublished report seen by The Sunday Times.

EU investigators who visited sites in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank noted “significant shortcomings” in the management of funds sent to Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU.

The auditors complained about the lack of measures to mitigate “high-level” risks, such as “corruption or of funds not being used for their intended purpose”.

In an April 2018 blog post on ‘Council of Foreign Relations’ Elliott Abrams wrote:

Civil Society does exist in the Palestinian territories, and one of the strongest organizations is the one that fights corruption: The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity. It was established in 2000 and is linked to Transparency International.

Needless to say, no government is entirely without corruption and the Palestinian Authority suffers from unique disadvantages: it is not a state, it does not have control over the territory it supposedly governs.

Government jobs, which are prized due to the weak private economy, are awarded on the basis of cronyism rather than merit: “Appointments at higher posts continued without transparency or fair competition, in disregard for the principle of equal opportunity. No job announcements were published in the newspapers, nor were there any competitions over appointments”.

While there is a high import duty on automobiles, it is often escaped by big shots: “non-payment of customs and taxes for purchase of private vehicles…is a waste of public funds…. Influential persons in senior positions were granted tax and customs exemptions without legal basis for approval. The amount of wasted funds is enormous, as the investigative report documented eight cases concerning influential officials where the amount wasted reached 357,600 dollars, which should have gone to the public treasury”.

The security services continue to be bloated at the top, as under Arafat: “the total annual amount for salaries…for the ranks of Major General, brigadier General, Colonel, and Lieutenant colonel, in 2016, reached the amount of 238.7 million NIS per year, equivalent to the yearly salary of 13000 soldiers.

Although the total number of the officers of the ranks mentioned is 5672. This translates into: for each officer assigned to lieutenant colonel or above there are two soldiers, despite the fact that the global experience shows differently. For example, in Israel, the ratio is 9 soldiers to one officer, and in the US it is 5 to one”.

Moneys are spent on non-existent entities, and here’s the best example: “salaries and raises were paid to employees of an airline company that no longer exists on the ground.” That is Palestine Airlines, about which the report says this: “The Palestinian treasury paid salaries to hundreds of employees in the ‘Palestinian Airlines’, which is a governmental company that has a board of directors, headed by the Minister of Transportation. This ‘company’ is not registered as a company in accordance with the law, nor does it have a governing law of its own, although the decree by which it was established goes back to 1994….The budget for this ‘company’ is included in the budget of the Ministry of Transport and Transportation with no details.” A non-existent airline – whose employees were not only paid salaries but given raises.

Finally, there is the case of the Presidential Palace. This giant edifice – 50,000 square feet for the Palace itself plus another 40,000 in other buildings- cost the bankrupt Palestinian Authority US$17.5 million. The public uproar forced President Mahmoud Abbas to convert the edifice into a public library. As the report states, “Honorable as it may sound to convert the presidential palace into a public library, it remains to be the epitome of misuse of public funds as well as a bad example of lack of prioritization”.

On June 20, 2020, Israeli web-based newspaper Arutz Sheva in a report titled

‘Massive corruption in Gaza and Palestinian Authority exposed’ said:

A new scandal involving Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and his closest advisers erupted this week at the same time that Hamas in Gaza was exposed as a bunch of liars over the narrative that the population in the coastal enclave is starving because of what is falsely portrayed as an Israeli blockade – in reality, non-existent – of the Strip.

A Palestinian Arab whistleblower handed over hundreds of secret files documenting widespread corruption at the top in the PA and shared them with the Belgian government and the European Union.

The man, Yasser Jadalah, the former head of the political department of the PA, said that money donated to the PA by the European Union and Arab countries disappears in secret bank accounts belonging to the grandchildren of Abbas.

Only three people in Abbas’ office knew about the corrupt practice of siphoning off donor money and its transfer it to private bank accounts: Abbas himself, his secretary Intesar Abu Amara and his Deputy Chief of Staff Mahmoud Salameh.

On April 11, 2023 The Media Line in a report gave an extensive description of corruption of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.

On August 8, 2023, US newspaper The Hill in an opinion editorial, Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State and Sander Gerber, chief executive of Hudson Bay Capital Management, a distinguished fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and a member of the State Department’s Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) advisory board wrote: “American officials are visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss Palestinian demands regarding a potential deal for the kingdom to normalize relations with Israel. The deal could include Riyadh’s reported proposal to resume its financial payments to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it constrains militants. While Saudi Arabia desires any normalization deal to benefit the Palestinian people, it is financially and morally irresponsible to distribute funds through the corrupt, terrorist-funding PA…

According to 2020 report by the Jerusalem Center for Public and Safety Affairs (JCPA):

The corruption within the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a significant concern for the Palestinian street in the territories. Until recently, the latest topic of discussion in this area was suspicions of corruption in the government fund established by the PA to assist those affected by COVID-19, known in Arabic as “Waqfat Ezz”. Residents in the territories claimed that only Fatah activists benefited from this fund due to their connections to senior PA officials, which the PA denies. However, the current talk of the town is a new scandal involving corruption in the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

On June 11, 2023 a news agency called “The Palestinian Center for Communication” and another news agency “Shehab”, associated with Hamas, published a video of Yasser Jadallah, the former director of the political department in the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In the video, he exposes major corruption scandals related to the theft of funds that reached the PA from international bodies and the way these funds were transferred to personal accounts.

He claimed in the video that most of the funds in the Palestinian Ministry of Finance under the title “Assistance from the European Union and Arab countries” are transferred to the Palestinian presidential office and then to secret accounts known only to three people: PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, his office director Intisar Abu Amara, and Mahmoud Salameh, the general financial manager of the PA Chairman’s office.

Yasser Jadallah claimed that once these funds enter the accounts of the PA Chairman’s office, they suddenly disappear and are transferred to accounts with fictitious names, including accounts in the names of Mahmoud Abbas’s grandchildren.

“We have passed this information to European parliament members”, Jadallah claimed.

He added that Mahmoud Abbas takes the advice of his office manager Intisar Abu Amara and the financial manager Mahmoud Salameh, so when the heads of the security mechanisms Majed Faraj and Ziad Hab al-Reeh want money, they must flatter them.

According to him, the PA Chairman ordered the destruction of his office’s accounts every six months, but they are destroyed daily under the pretext of security considerations. He accused Mahmoud Abbas of stealing money and said he knows “the Palestinian people are exhausted and weak”.

Yasser Jadallah left Ramallah for Brussels and sought political asylum in Belgium. He handed over to the European Union and the Belgian authorities all the material he had on corruption in the PA.

He accused two Palestinian security personnel, Nizar Alhaj and Tarek Alabidi, of pursuing him and trying to assassinate him on the orders of Intisar Abu Amara and Mahmoud Salameh so that he would not speak of the corruption he knew.

The PA has refrained from commenting on the published video and has not taken any legal action against Yasser Jadallah to date.

PA sources strongly deny Jadallah’s claims, and senior Fatah officials say he is a disgruntled person trying to settle accounts through lies.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denies all publications that he and his two sons are involved in acts of corruption. His associates claim that these are false news spread by his political rivals and Israel to defame him.

However, at a meeting held in Ramallah on December 19, 2019, on the topic of fighting corruption, the PA Chairman said that the Palestinian headquarters for the fight against corruption is dealing with 460 complaints of corruption, which pleases him.

“No one is above the law or interferes with the work of the headquarters,” Mahmoud Abbas claimed.

He also called on the Palestinian residents in the PA territories not to hesitate and to file complaints about suspicions of corruption.

The PA Chairman also claimed that the Palestinians are on their way to establishing a state and therefore it is very important to fight corruption and maintain transparency. “We want a state of law”, Abbas said.

The PA and its leader have long lost their credibility in the eyes of the residents of the territories, many of whom do not believe the senior PA officials, and stories of corruption in the PA mechanisms are routine in the Palestinian street.

The video of Yasser Jadallah was distributed via WhatsApp throughout the territories and aroused great interest. The PA’s silence on the matter only increases the suspicions that there is something to hide.

Corruption is one of the main reasons why most residents of the West Bank do not want to enter a new intifada against Israel, especially now when the issue of annexation is on the agenda.

They feel exploited and neglected while the Palestinian leadership enjoys the good life. “If Mahmoud Abbas wants an intifada against Israel, let him send his two sons to confront IDF soldiers at the checkpoints”, a senior Palestinian educator said.

In a 2023 report Arab Expert discussed ongoing corruption within the Palestinian Authority (PA), particularly involving the office of Mahmoud Abbas, the Chairman of the PA. The Palestinian organization “Coalition for Integrity and Accountability” (Aman in Arabic) exposed a corruption scandal related to the export of dates from Israeli settlements to Turkey. The Palestinian street is reportedly not surprised by such revelations, as they encounter corruption daily in their interactions with official PA offices.

Mahmoud Abbas denies these occurrences, despite having established a special department to combat corruption, which has become a joke among Palestinians. Abbas and his two sons, who run a significant economic empire, are considered symbols of PA corruption, along with Abbas’s close circle.

The report by Aman, published on May 16, 2023 accuses Abbas’s office of intervening in corruption cases that should be handled by the legal and authorized bodies. According to the report, Abbas’s office attempted to extort a Palestinian businessman, Abdelmalek Jabr, accused of “laundering” dates from a settlement and presenting them as Palestinian, and to seize his assets and lands for a company registered in the names of PA security personnel.

Azmi Shuaibi, an advisor to Aman, revealed that due to disputes between Jabr and the PA, and after Jabr was accused of having ties with Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas’s political rival, the PA saw an opportunity for retribution. The legal advisor to Mahmoud Abbas allegedly negotiated for Abdelmalek Jabr to relinquish his company, worth millions of shekels, and several lands in exchange for a smaller company registered to two individuals, one a security officer in Abbas’s office and the other an officer in the preventive security force.

Senior Fatah officials disclosed that these two individuals are “men of straw”, implying that senior figures close to Mahmoud Abbas are behind them.

According to Palestinian law, Abdelmalek Jabr should have been tried in court for the allegations against him, but instead, there was an attempt to cover up the suspicions in exchange for his assets to benefit those close to Abbas.

The date scandal has tarnished the PA’s reputation and its relations with the Turkish government, which had granted a customs exemption for a certain quota of Palestinian dates exported from the West Bank to Turkey. Some Palestinians exploited this, purchasing Israeli dates from settlements and exporting them to Turkey as Palestinian dates to benefit from the exemption.

In an interview with “Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed” on May 17, 2023 Azmi Shuaibi Shuaibi stated that there are multiple cases where individuals from Abbas’s office are involved in corruption crimes against the law. Last year, the anti-corruption department referred eight cases related to senior officials’ corruption to the general prosecutor, but only one, involving an ambassador, was brought to trial. Shuaibi suspects that the PA protects loyal individuals or tries to extort or retaliate against its opponents.

The anti-corruption department is supposed to be an independent body not subject to Abbas’s office, but in practice, the PA interferes with its work. Similarly, the general prosecutor operates as if it belongs to the executive authority, despite Palestinian law stating it should be part of the judiciary.

This story is just one example of the many stories of corruption and nepotism within the PA that circulate among Palestinians. It seems that Abbas’s rule will be recorded in Palestinian history as much more corrupt than that of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

Corruption of Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas kingpins

In a July 20, 2014 report The Jerusalem Post said:

1.8 million people live in the Gaza Strip, most of them refugees. They endure an unemployment rate that reaches 40%, shameful poverty, rock bottom wages, and, to top it all, an apparently corrupt regime, with an extreme political ideology, that finds it convenient to perpetuate poverty.

In the Arab press, particularly in Egypt, there are countless stories about the corruption in Hamas. The Egyptians are no fans of Hamas, and their own regime is corrupt enough, but we present here a few excerpts from the welter of stories about Hamas’s financial criminality.

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, the Hamas movement is in the throes of an economic crisis in its political, military and social institutions, after a number of corruption affairs within it were exposed. Public anger has forced the movement to bring many activists accused of corruption to justice, to avoid a revolution in the Gaza Strip. Some of the cases involved bribery in the justice system itself.

According to one report, the Hamas political bureau held several meetings to discuss the many corruption affairs connected to the financing of the movement’s institutions in the Gaza Strip, the financing of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and especially payments of activists’ wages. Moreover, the movement’s financial statements show that bad investments were made in real estate in Saudi Arabia, in Syria, and in Dubai, leading to the loss of tens of millions of dollars that had been earmarked for rehabilitating the Gaza Strip.

Sources cited in these reports said the money was raised in Europe and the Gulf states through the “Charity Coalition” and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which transferred money to Hamas in exchange for attacks on Israeli targets.

The most prominent corruption affair was the one involving Ayman Taha, a senior figure in Hamas. Hamas has confirmed that Taha was disloyal and that he had abused his authority to make money. He is still under investigation, a matter which is under a veil of secrecy, and there have been reports that he has been severely tortured. It emerges from the reports that Taha allowed people close to him to engage in illegal trading at the expense of hundreds of citizens who paid money for projects, mostly in connection with smuggling tunnels.

Other people who have been involved in corruption affairs connected to taxation of goods passing through the tunnels are Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nunu, and senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar. Al-Zahar confirmed in a recent interview that he took part in illegal trading via the tunnels, which are also used to smuggle weapons, and that his wealth amounted to some six billion Egyptian pounds (hundreds of millions of dollars).

Another corruption affair was that of a senior Hamas figure who was exiled to Qatar in the prisoner release deal for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Zaher Jabarin. Jabarin is responsible for the payment of wages to families of Hamas prisoners and former prisoners.

But the cherry on the cake is the conduct attributed to Hamas’s foremost leaders: Khaled Mashaal, head of the organization’s political bureau, and Ismail Haniyeh, head of the organization in Gaza. It was reported recently that Mashaal smuggled $12 million from Syria to Turkey under cover of the civil war in Syria. Mashaal reportedly appointed someone by the name of Jibril Janid to transfer the money to Turkey in October 2012 from Mashaal’s borther-in-law. It was also reported that the money belonged to Hamas, but Mashal said it had “disappeared” in the civil war.

Furthermore, a Qatari real estate company has unveiled a seven-acre project in Qatar that includes four towers and a 2.5 acre commercial center owned by Mashaal, his wife and son. According to the company’s engineer, the towers will be among the most prominent in Doha, with 250 luxury apartments, a private club, a kindergarten, a library, and tourist attractions.

As for Ismail Haniyeh, he reportedly owns 2,500 square meters of land in Amar Almatar street in the Al-Ramal area of the Gaza Strip. The land is estimated to be worth about $4 million, and is registered in the name of his son-in-law. And while the talk is of the failure to pay wages in the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh has bought several houses in the names of his sons. According to press reports, Haniyeh’s wealth has risen in line with his popularity, thanks to his involvement in the tunnels trade. It is also reported that Haniyeh’s son, who is also active in Hamas, was caught at the Rafah crossing with millions of dollars in his possession. It turns out that the tunnels are not just a pipeline for weapons, but also for the proceeds of corruption.

There’s a great deal of money, then, and so it’s no surprise that corruption is correspondingly great. One newspaper published a Qatari document concerning a check for $250 million sent to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip in return for support for the regime of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. The beneficiary of the check is Khaled Mashaal.

It’s no wonder therefore that an Egyptian television presenter mocked Mashaal the other day. “Khaled Mashaal sits and eats in restaurants in Qatar. He runs his jihad from Qatar. My dear sir, Khaled Mashaal, the jihad is in Gaza. Mr. Khaled and all his brave warriors in Gaza people don’t have enough to eat, children are suffering and buildings are destroyed with their inhabitants. And all this time he resides in the most luxurious hotel in the most beautiful district, in a room that overlooks the office that the Israelis opened there.” (The screen shows pictures of Mashaal eating and in a fitness room).

“Where is the courage? Where is the heroism? If you have real spirit in you, go back tomorrow. Get on the first plane and come back to Egypt. Don’t worry, we’ll open the Rafah crossing for you, and make sure you get to the other side safely, and reach your family whole and healthy. Our brothers the Palestinians will greet you and you will meet your brother there, what’s his name? Ismail Haniyeh… sit in one of the hiding places underground and manage operations. At least you’ll stand at the head of your people. Every shepherd leads his flock, and you, sir, are responsible for your people. A leader doesn’t run away. A leader is not afraid. A leader does not run things by telephone…

“Khaled Mashaal, before the revolution in Syria against President Assad, bought a house there for $4 million. A house for $4 million! When his people in Gaza have nothing to eat. That’s what the great jihad warriors do, Sheikh Haniyeh and Sheikh Mashaal…”

There are orientalists who think that Hamas’s corrupt behavior will in the end provoke social protest in the Gaza Strip. If only one could believe it.

On May 8, 2022 Arab Expert in a report said:

There is great anger among the residents of the Gaza Strip at the leadership of Hamas, headed by Ismail Haniyeh, after it became known recently that Hazem Haniyeh, son of Ismail Haniyeh, traveled with his family to Turkey, where his father, who travels between Turkey and Qatar, lives from time to time.

The joining of Hazem Haniyeh and his family to the rest of the family in Turkey actually completes the move of the Haniyeh family members to Turkey, they left the Gaza Strip and moved to Turkey and Qatar and became businessmen.

Egypt approved their departure from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, their names appeared on the list of those leaving and from there the information was leaked to social media.

Many residents of Gaza expressed on social media their outrage at the travel of the Haniyeh family members abroad while they are forced to live under acute challenges. The difficult economic situation in Gaza has become unbearable, unemployment is rising and the danger of a new round of fighting with Israel hovers over their heads.

On social media one can see reactions of ridicule and great anger at Ismail Haniyeh who abandoned the residents of the Gaza Strip for a life of luxury abroad.

According to sources in the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whose personal fortune is estimated at about US$4 billion, has decided to make Turkey his permanent residence and stay away from his home in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh, who serves as the head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, moved from the Gaza Strip to live in Qatar more than two years ago, after he broke his promise to Egypt and went through the Rafah crossing to Tehran to attend the funeral of Qassem Souleimani, the commander of the “Quds” force who was assassinated in Iraq by the US army.

At the time, he justified his stay abroad by saying that he was preparing to run in the internal elections for a second term as chairman of the political bureau of Hamas.

The Egyptians were furious, but over time they realized that it might be better for him to stay away from the [Gaza] Strip. Gradually his family members joined him and he established a business empire for his children. In Turkey he feels safe in all respects, from a security point of view he is convinced that Israel would not dare to assassinate him on Turkish soil and his stay there allows him to whitewash all the funds he has accumulated and to ensure a comfortable life for him and his family far from the collapsing Gaza Strip.

Following Ismail Haniyeh, other senior officials in the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organizations began to leave Gaza and live abroad.

Khalil al-Haya, who serves as the deputy leader of Hamas in Gaza and is responsible for the movement’s relations with Arab countries and Islam and is considered the new star of the Hamas leadership – also left Gaza and moved to Qatar. Although returned to Gaza in April 2022, it was well anticipated that he intends to return abroad.

Another senior figure Salah Al-Bardawil moved with his family to Qatar, while other senior Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip also followed him such as Sami Abu Zouhri who was the movement’s spokesman, Taher Al-Nounu, Ismail Haniyeh’s advisor and also two senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – Sheikh Nafez Azzam who moved to Lebanon and Muhammad Al-Hindi who moved to Turkey.

Lebanese magazine “Al-Majalah” reported on September 11, 2021 about the luxurious life of Hamas leaders abroad. These leaders took advantage of the Palestinian problem and turned it into a source of profit and wealth. Thanks to acts of corruption they became owners of real estate assets worth billions of dollars while the residents of the Gaza Strip live in conditions of terrible and growing poverty under the dictatorial rule of Hamas.

Hamas, that presents itself as defending the rights of the Palestinians and fighting for their liberation from the “Israeli occupation” is a corrupt organization. The Forbes magazine graded it third in the list of the richest terrorist movements with annual revenues of more than US$700 million in 2018.

Among the names of the members of the Hamas leadership who have accumulated huge fortune by exploiting international aid funds and donations directed to the Gaza Strip are Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashal and his deputy Musa Abu Marzouk.

Khaled Mashal’s personal fortune is estimated at US$5 billion.

The residents of the Gaza Strip know all of this information very well, they follow every news report about Hamas leadership.

The corruption is continuing before their eyes and it is not much different from the corruption in the Palestinian Authority mechanisms in the West Bank.

Everyone who is close to the plate of government participates in the celebration of corruption. This phenomenon of senior leaders who leave the Gaza Strip and go abroad to take care of their home and the future of their families have already become a regular norm. The leaders staying abroad claim that they are engaged in political activity against Israel, such as coordinating with Iran against Israel, transferring weapons to the Gaza Strip and collecting funds in Islamic countries.

No one in Gaza believes these lies!

In a November 2023 report titled ‘The primary victims of Hamas are Palestinian’, The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune said:

On the night of January 25, 2006, after Hamas won a majority of the seats in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, its political leader Ismail Haniyeh told the press he had requested a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the future of the Palestinian government. “Hamas will cooperate with everybody for the benefit of all the people, he was quoted in The Guardian the next day.

17 years later, when Hamas launched a horrific attack [October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel], it’s clear that the only beneficiary of this victory was Hamas itself. The rest of the Palestinian people have lost.

In 2006, Hamas’ electoral win came just five months after the unilateral Israeli disengagement from Gaza. Hamas’ successful electoral strategy was based on two ideas: declaring a “jihad” against the rampant corruption of the Palestinian Authority; framing the Israeli unilateral disengagement from Gaza as a great victory for the “muqawama”– meaning armed resistance, which includes suicide bombings and other targeting of civilians (shooting and kidnapping) – that Hamas and other Palestinian organizations had been waging since October 2000.

Polls in 2006 showed that the Palestinian public did give Hamas most of the credit for disengagement. Some Palestinians also believed that Hamas leaders, who at that time lived in refugee camps and shared the burden of ordinary life, would be more decent than Fatah officials, who were infamous for their lavish lifestyles and nepotism.

As a journalist, I covered Gaza during that time for Israeli television’s Russian language Channel 9 as well as international media. The few months between the disengagement in August 2005 and parliamentary elections in January 2006 were characterized by turmoil and internal fighting between Fatah and Hamas, but they were also months of hope. Arab and some Western investors explored opportunities for hotel and college construction and residential developments. A Lebanese-Palestinian friend of mine decided to invest some money in a condo near the sea – he was now able to travel from Lebanon to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

If all these plans were to materialize, many jobs would have become available to Gazans. Many were out of work since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000. The border crossing to Egypt was supervised by EU monitors, Gazans finally could come and go freely, and there was some cautious optimism that things might finally work out for Gaza.

But once Hamas managed to translate its post-Intifada popularity into political victory, these hopes were soon shattered. Despite its promises to “work for the benefit of the Palestinian people” the movement began to vigorously promote its own military-political project. 

An interview with Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar on Al-Arabiya television on March 18, 2006 reflected the hardline opinion, and indicated that even after assuming power Hamas would remain Hamas – a hardcore fundamentalist terrorist organization. “If Hamas joins the government, it will do so on the basis of its economic, social, and political program, which does not cede even one centimeter and which [at best – K.S.] grants a long-term ceasefire, leaving the conflict unresolved, even though we will not be talking about a military struggle. The difference between Hamas and others is that Hamas is based on a religious foundation, which regards Palestine as Islamic land. If the present generation lacks the capability to carry this out, it does not mean that [this ideal] needs to be relinquished”.

The Quartet of the US, EU, UN and Russia required Hamas to forsake violence, recognize Israel and respect all previous agreements (the ”Quartet Conditions”) but, to no avail. Hamas could have earned international recognition, funds and influence, but it wasn’t interested. While during the first half of 2006 Hamas mostly refrained from firing rockets into Israel (while allowing other organizations to do so), on June 25, 2006 its fighters used a tunnel to sneak into Israel, ambush IDF soldiers, killed two and kidnaped another, Gilad Shalit (released in a prisoner exchange in 2011). In doing so, Hamas revealed that it had invested vast funds to prepare for subterranean warfare.

In retaliation, Israel bombed Gaza’s sole power station and launched Operation Summer Rain, and Hamas sprayed civilians in Southern Israeli cities with its rockets. In total, 1,247 rockets and 28 mortars were fired at Israel in 2006 (a rise from 574 mortar shells and 286 Qassam rockets in 2005). 

Israel imposed economic sanctions and a blockade on the Gaza Strip in July 2007, following the violent takeover of Hamas – when hundreds of Fatah men as well as non-combatants were executed. Hamas now established its own rule in Gaza. Energy blackouts became common, and life in the Gaza Strip became even more difficult. 

Israel’s blockade was aimed at Hamas’ attempt to arm itself with more sophisticated weapons, beyond their own home-made Qassam rockets. A quick glance at the number of rockets that were fired at Israel in the following years show that this strategy simply didn’t succeed: Iran found ways around the blockade. In 2010, Iran succeeded in smuggling 1,000 mortar shells and hundreds of short-range rockets into Gaza. Northern Sinai became Hamas’s “backyard” for operations and storage of arms. 

Unemployment in Gaza reached 38 percent and poverty increased. Corruption allegations. such as the ones against the Palestinian Authority that had brought Hamas to power in 2006, were now heard out loud – against the leaders of Palestinian Islamist groups, some of whom quickly enriched themselves and sent their kids to study abroad. In 2014, Khaled Mashaal was reportedly worth US$2.6 billion or more; his then deputy Musa Abu-Marzouq – 2 to 3 billion US dollars. 

Ismail Haniyeh, the current leader of Hamas outside of Gaza, and his sons are estimated to be worth US$4-5 billion. This man had called his fellow Palestinians to be satisfied with “olive oil and zaatar” during the first years of a blockade that was imposed in order to prevent Hamas from getting more weapons into the Strip. While Gaza became poorer, Hamas leaders deposited billions into their bank accounts.

When it became clear that the economic situation in the Strip was not about to improve, protests against Hamas broke out. In 2011, a few activists rallied in Gaza for Palestinian unity. They were arrested by Hamas police and then tortured. Human Rights Watch called for an investigation.

During the Israel/Hamas conflict of 2014, Hamas tortured and executed 23 Palestinians, including children, suspected of cooperating with Israel, according to Amnesty International. “In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses including against people in its custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip”, the report said.

Anyone who wonders about the source of Hamas’s brutality on October 7 should know that the organization had years and years of practice – at home.

“The Hamas leadership repeatedly calls for rights and justice for Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere. But they do not always act in a manner that reflects respect for rights, justice and the rule of law. By failing to halt such grave violations, the Hamas authorities are dragging the name of justice through the mud and condoning these appalling crimes”, according to Amnesty International.

In 2019, protests erupted in the Strip against corruption and dire living conditions. In response, Hamas arrested dozens of protesters, beat activists and violently suppressed attempts by local media to cover the unrest. Hamas also targeted journalists (though it is suddenly very concerned for journalists’ safety now, when Israel is attacking its terror infrastructure). 

It also persecuted, tortured and killed members of the LGBT community and jailed women for “moral offenses”.

Just this August, Hamas arrested nearly 400 people during another desperate protest against deteriorating living conditions. A 14-years old girl named Batol Abu-Salima disappeared following this wave of arrests.

Hamas could have had it all. In 2005, Israel left Gaza and opened the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. If Hamas had met the conditions of the Quartet back then, investments would have poured in, unemployment would have shrunk and in the absence of violence Gazans could have also continued working in Israel, as they did prior to the Second Intifada.

Hamas could have invested in building state institutions and the economy, and thus promote Palestinian struggle for an independent state. Instead, Hamas increased its rocket attacks, kidnapped a soldier and then a few civilians and spent many billions of dollars in acquiring arms, manufacturing rockets and digging military tunnels. This self-serving move was intended to preserve authority in Hamas hands. While the terrorist organization was able to inflict some harm on Israel, during its 16 years of rule it completely mismanaged and ruined life in Gaza. They focused on a “forever war” with Israel, while neglecting everything else – water, sewage, electricity, employment, and every other sphere of civilian life. The terror organization now controls land, but it never evolved into a responsible governing authority, despite all of Israel’s assessments.

A word must be said about the Israeli government as well. For years it nurtured relations with Hamas and Qatar, while offering no real partnership with the Palestinian Authority beyond security cooperation – another self-serving move that allowed Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies on the extreme right to avoid negotiations. Over the years many Gazans said to me that while they opposed Hamas, they were also appalled by what they perceived as “constant humiliation” of the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

Today, when Israel mulls again reinstating “a moderate regime in Gaza” when and if the Hamas regime is toppled, and fears violent protests in the West Bank, continuing the campaign against the Palestinian Authority seems even more dangerous. 

Hamas’s destructive policies have harmed the Palestinians beyond imagination. The world should not let Hamas off the hook just because it skillfully uses the victim card. Its brutal and violent deeds do not bring Palestinians closer to a solution and do not advance independence. Israel, undoubtedly, needs to thoroughly revise its failed policies and strategies: it needs to eradicate the evil of Hamas, while strengthening what remains of its Palestinian partner – not just to find a quick fix for Gaza (no such quick fix exists), but to build the necessary trust, start from fresh and work towards a realistic and just solution.

On October 29, 2023, i24News in a report said:

While the majority of Gaza residents live on international humanitarian aid, others in the coastal enclave have accumulated colossal fortunes, most notably the leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas.

Despite international sanctions against the designated terrorist organization, and the poverty conditions of the Palestinians being governed by Hamas, hundreds have become millionaires with assets across the Middle East.

Former Hamas Chairman Khaled Mashal already a decade ago had a fortune in the billions, according to Arab media, with recent estimates US$5 billion. His investment portfolio consists of banks in Egypt and real estate projects in the Arabian Gulf countries, while himself living luxuriously in Qatar.

Ismael Haniyeh, the current head of the Hamas political bureau, who is also living in Qatar, has an estimated fortune of at least US$5 million, having recently purchased one of the most sought-after beachside areas in Gaza at US$4 million for a 27,000 square foot plot.

Haniyeh also owns several properties, many of which are in the names of his 13 children. In particular, he has exploited his privileges to acquire a Turkish passport for his, who has then heavily invested in Turkey with real estate purchases.

Another top figure is Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza. He holds between US$1 and US$3 million according to the BBC. And Mohammed Deif, head of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, with a fortune estimated at US$5 million.

Hamas accumulated wealth in part due to its tunnel industry, imposing taxes on smuggled goods, as well as the terrorist organization having its own investment portfolio worth at least US$500 million. In addition, the terror group has utilized cryptocurrencies to circumvent internal sanctions, according to Reuters.

On May 24, 2022, US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a Hamas finance official as well as an expansive network of three Hamas financial facilitators and six companies that have generated revenue for the terrorist group through the management of an international investment portfolio.

In a press release OFAC said:

Hamas’s Investment Office, whose leadership oversees this network, held assets estimated to be worth more than $500 million, including companies operating in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While Hamas’s Shura Council and Executive Committee exercise control and oversight of the group’s international investment portfolio, the Investment Office is in charge of the day-to-day management of this investment portfolio.

“Today’s action targets the individuals and companies that Hamas uses to conceal and launder funds,” said Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg while in Israel to discuss counter terrorist financing efforts. “Hamas has generated vast sums of revenue through its secret investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which is facing harsh living and economic conditions. Hamas maintains a violent agenda that harms both Israelis and Palestinians. The United States is committed to denying Hamas the ability to generate and move funds and to holding Hamas accountable for its role in promoting and carrying out violence in the region.”

Sanctioned Hamas individuals and companies are:

Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh, Usama Ali, Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh (a Turkey-based Jordanian national who served as Usama Ali’s deputy and played an important role in transferring funds on behalf of various companies linked to Hamas’s investment portfolio), Abdallah Yusuf Faisal Sabri (Kuwait-based Jordanian national, is an accountant who has worked in the Hamas Finance Ministry for several years), Agrogate Holding (Sudan), Trend GYO (Turkey), Al Rowad Real Estate Development (Sudan), Anda Company (real estate and construction business based in Saudi Arabia), Sidar Company (Algeria) and Itqan Real Estate JSC (UAE).

As of 2018, Hamas elements held about 75 percent of the issued capital at Turkey-based company Trend GYO. Additionally, Hamas planned to privately issue more than US$15 million of Trend GYO’s shares to senior officials in the investment portfolio.

Al Rowad Real Estate Development was established in 2010 by merging several Hamas companies based in Sudan. Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh made hiring and firing decisions at Al Rowad and was also involved in the company’s financial dealings.


  1. A masterpiece which should be accepted as compulsory reading for schools and universities in their curriculums for Middle East studies.


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