“Palestinian militant group Hamas uses a global financing network to funnel support from charities and friendly nations, passing cash through Gaza tunnels or using cryptocurrencies to bypass international sanctions, according to experts and officials.”
PBS reports, “As a designated terrorist entity, Hamas is cut off from official assistance that the United States and European Union (EU) provide to the PLO in the West Bank. Historically, Palestinian expatriates and private donors in the Persian Gulf provided much of the movement’s funding. In addition, some Islamic charities in the West have channeled money to Hamas-backed social service groups, prompting asset freezes by the U.S. Treasury.
Reuters reports, “Earlier this week, Israeli police said they froze a Barclays bank account the authorities said was linked to Hamas fundraising and blocked cryptocurrency accounts used to gather donations, without specifying how many accounts or the value of the assets. The move provided a glimpse of a complex financial web, some legitimate, much hidden, that underpins Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, and its government in the Gaza Strip, which it has run since 2007.”
“Crypto is seen as a potential tool in financial crimes because it allows individuals to move money outside the traditional banking system with pseudo-anonymity and the use of decentralized platforms.“ REUTERS
“Digital wallets linked to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad received up to $134 million since 2021, according to crypto analyses cited by the Wall Street Journal. (Warren this week shared the WSJ’s reporting with other senators and encouraged them to back her bill.)
Crypto firms including the U.S. exchange Coinbase have rushed to get ahead of the controversy. Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation, wrote on X Thursday that she has “moved from disgust to anger that crypto’s detractors in Washington are using this horrifying moment to push their (overblown) political [points].”
Stephen Reimer of the think tank, Royal United Services Institute, predicted fresh attempts to fully restrict the group’s access to formal financial channels would have limited success. “Their financing tactics have grown to circumvent these.” (Reuters)