Back in June of this year the BBC’s Gaza based correspondent Rushdi Abu Alouf produced an article about the grim economic situation of Gaza Strip residents titled “Gazans squeezed by triple taxes as Hamas replaces lost income“. As was noted here at the time:
“On the topic of Hamas’ expenditure, Abu Alouf has just this to say:
“An unknown amount of money is spent by Hamas on weapons and military infrastructure, but this too is under pressure.””
That “unknown amount of money” has now been quantified.
“As the residents of the Gaza Strip endure daily hardships due to the dire economic situation in the enclave, their Hamas leaders spend over $100 million a year on the group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, according to estimates by both Israeli and Palestinian sources. Spending on digging tunnels accounts for some $40 million of that annual sum.
By way of comparison, the budget of the last Hamas government, which dissolved in April 2014, was $530 million. In other words, some 20 percent of the budget was funneled toward arming the group with advanced weapons, digging tunnels, training, and salaries for Hamas fighters.”
Abu Alouf did however tell his readers that:
“It [Hamas] has also faced a crippling blockade by Israel and Egypt and financial sanctions from other countries since it won Palestinian elections in 2006.”
“And Hamas’s financial crisis is unlikely to be solved soon with Israel and Egypt continuing their border closures amid fear of attack by militants from Gaza.”
Obviously, the Hamas terror organisation’s prioritisation of rearmament and tunnel digging contributes both directly and indirectly to the economic and social pressures endured by ordinary residents of the Gaza Strip. Audiences of the media organisation committed to enhancing “awareness and understanding of international issues” have however yet to receive the full range of information which would enable them to properly comprehend this issue.