They are living the Hamas high life.
While the people of Gaza live in poverty and have suffered under the horrors of Hamas, the terror group’s leaders apparently are living high on the hog.
Israeli officials say Hamas leaders are billionaires, amassing an overwhelming jackpot of terror money for themselves.
‘It’s just really the numbers that are shocking, looking at the sheer amount of money that some of these terror chiefs have been able to sock away,’ Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at The Foundation For Defense of Democracies told Fox News.
‘There is no accountability in these countries that support terrorism, that are effectively state sponsors of terrorism. They could care less whether the Hamas leaders are doing things that are unjust.’
Hamas bosses Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are worth an estimated $4 billion each, and political bureau leader Mousa Abu Marzouk is worth $3 billion.
‘The longer they stay away from the Gaza Strip, the more they live in the lap of luxury,’ Schanzer said.
The terror group is estimated to earn more than $1 billion a year from a global network that includes cryptocurrency, real estate, legitimate business and taxing and extorting Gaza residents. The U.S. Treasury department has slapped sanctions of dozens of Hamas honchos, but the vast number of shell companies and financial maneuvering has made Hamas one of the richest terrorist organizations in the world.
Photos show Hamas leader Mashaal playing table tennis, as well as squeezing in a workout on a treadmill in what appears to be a hotel gym.
Reports have long claimed that one of the Hamas leaders’ base of operations has been the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, Qatar. In 2015, Mashaal held a press conference in the hotel’s ballroom, where he attacked Israel. And it was said he spent a lot of his time at the property. Four Seasons touts its property as being ‘reimagined with modern grandeur and sparkling with sunlight and sea views. From the elegant lobby to energetic restaurants and lounges, our beachfront urban retreat has been transformed into a vibrant hotspot.’
In a statement to Fox News, the company says the ‘Four Seasons confirms that Ismail Haniyeh is not living at or staying at Four Seasons Hotel Doha. Information circulating on social media suggesting otherwise is not true.’ Requests for comment from Fox News about other Hamas leaders have not yet been answered.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced legislation, ‘The Hamas Sanctions Act,’ that would block Hamas’ ability to find safe havens abroad, including in Qatar or Turkey. The legislation would impose sanctions on ‘hotels, landlords, banks, and similar businesses in allied countries that provide services to Hamas leaders,’ and would potentially classify countries, like Qatar and Turkey, ‘as state sponsors of terrorism for hosting Hamas.’
‘The United States needs to reevaluate our policy toward these billionaire Hamas leaders and the countries that provide them shelter,’ Cruz told Fox News. ‘These leaders live in the territory of American allies, where they live in luxury in mansions and exclusive hotels. The Biden administration should sanction everyone involved in these outrages. And if they don’t, Congress should force them to.’
Schanzer says Qatar and Turkey, two countries that have provided safe havens for Hamas honchos, should be singled out too.
‘Both of these countries openly harbor and finance Hamas,’ Schanzer said. ‘They should be designated as state sponsors of terror. They should have their banks cut off from the U.S. system. We should start to impose real penalties on these governments.’
He claims both Doha and Ankara pitch in about $150 million a year each into Hamas’ coffers, but that the terror group’s sugar daddy has long been Iran.
‘The first and most meaningful step that the United States can take to cut off Hamas funding would be to stop giving money to Iran,’ he says.
‘We helped sponsor Iran’s proxies. That cannot continue to happen. That means no more hostage diplomacy, no $6 billion in exchange for hostages. None of that can happen if we want to cut off Hamas and Hezbollah and the other terrorist organizations.’
The Treasury department says it is ‘taking swift and decisive action to target Hamas’ financiers and facilitators … to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel.’
The Biden administration sanctioned numerous Hamas officials and financial operations after the Oct. 7 massacre, including cash transfer operations in Gaza and operations in Qatar and Turkey.
‘Much like many Russian elites, senior Hamas officials often live in luxury, while the average Gazan faces dire living conditions,’ Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London last month.
‘The United States has targeted nearly 1,000 individuals and entities connected to terrorism and terrorist financing by the Iranian regime and its proxies, including Hamas, Hezbollah and other Iran-aligned terrorist groups in the region.’
Despite the crackdown, Hamas’ big shots continue to be ensconced in Qatar and Turkey.
Qatar says it will revisit its relations with Hamas after the war, and the government of Turkish President Recep Erdoğan says it has no plans to change its backing of Hamas.
Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.