Thursday, May 29, 2014

29-May-14: A reminder via a Hamas insider that in the terrorism business, money is a key enabler

Students of Islamic theology earning pocket money again
on Jerusalem's Temple Mount [Image Source]
A man called Mahmoud Mahmoud Issa Toameh is the central figure in a report published this afternoon on the Times of Israel site. Under the heading "Top Hamas moneyman spills in Shin Bet interrogation", reporter Gavriel Fiske outlines the recent turns in Toameh's life, and illustrates some of the things money can do when it's controlled by terrorists.

The thuggish young men, for instance, who routinely appear on the grounds of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (see this post of ours from yesterday) harassing Jewish visitors to the site and hurling stones, curses and threats at Jewish children do so as mercenaries. Said by gullible-enough reporters to be students of Islamic theology, they are paid monthly retainer fees - between $1,150 and $1,440 - from sources connected to Hamas and the Islamic Movement via a confidential agreement to collaborate on this. Both groups regard themselves as arms of the Moslem Brotherhood.

The Islamic Movement is associated with Raed Salah Abu Shakra, often called a firebrand in the media and a sometime mayor of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. Salah was jailed a decade ago for raising funds to aid Hamas and convicted in July 2013 for inciting to violence, in which the statement "Our best moments will be when we meet God as martyrs in the al-Aqsa mosque" was included. (In March, he was sentenced to eight months in prison.) Evidently it's not enough to promise those brave young rock-hurlers paradise, fame and virgins. Money is needed too.

Toameh, described as a top-ranking overseas operative of Hamas, was arrested on May 14 while trying to slip into Israel. He was formally indicted in court today, and is said to have given Israel's Shin Bet security agency a huge amount of information about radical Islamic groups in the course of his interrogation: funding sources, international activities and activities inside Israel:
  • Toameh, who sits on the main economic council of Hamas, detailed how Hamas transfers funds into Gaza and on to its supporters in Israel and the West Bank. Islamic charities operating abroad are part of the covert mechanism. 
  • There is close cooperation between the terrorists of Hamas and the Islamic Movement Northern Branch headed by Salah. 
  • Hamas got most of its funding from Iran until a year ago (some of why that happened is outlined in this Telegraph UK article from 2013). Tehran's change of heart "caused economic hardship" for the terrorists. But the terrorists are resourceful and have widespread support into which to tap. Money from real estate deals in Saudi Arabia and Gulf states in particular is helping to fill the void. 
  • Toameh claimed to be the author of that new approach, and cited the example of a Saudi Arabian-backed mosque built several years ago in Tulkarm, 15 km east of the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. Some $200,000 was freed up from that transaction and transferred along to happy and willing Hamas hands.
  • In doing its recent "unity" deal with Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas has not changed its outlook or plans, but is adjusting to the new economic reality.

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