Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed several designations and property seizure orders on Wednesday, imposing international restrictions on 20 parties involved in Hamas’ investment mechanism, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Our policy is clear: we will continue to support the transfer of funds to citizens while stopping any attempt to funnel money invested in Hamas’ terror infrastructure and force buildup."Defense Minister Benny Gantz
The move comes following a joint operation conducted by the ISA, National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) in the Defense Ministry and the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate.
“This is a significant designation from both an operational perspective and the larger international perspective,” Gantz said. “Our policy is clear: we will continue to support the transfer of funds to citizens while stopping any attempt to funnel money invested in Hamas’ terror infrastructure and force buildup.”
According to the Defense Ministry, Hamas’ investment system is part of the terror group’s international financing campaign and the group “covertly manages a mechanism valued at hundreds of millions of dollars through a network of international companies that operate under the guise of legitimate companies” that conceal Hamas’ control of their holdings.
“In this manner, the investment system has deceived authorities, customers and suppliers (including banks), which were unaware of the terrorist organization’s ownership and control of these companies,” read a statement released by Gantz’s office.
This Israeli initiative is in line with the designations imposed by the US Treasury Department in May on some of the same parties.
The order will also place sanctions on senior Hamas officials, including Usama Ali, who was appointed as head of the investment system in 2017. In his role, he coordinates financial transfers for the group and is involved with various business activities for Hamas.
According to both Israel’s Defense Ministry and the US Treasury Department, Ali has been a member of Hamas’ Ashura Council since 2019 and on Hamas’ Executive Committee. He maintains direct contact with the head of the terror organization’s political branch, Ismail Haniyeh, Political Bureau deputy chief Salih al-Aruri and financial official Zahar Jabarin, as well as with other senior Hamas officials.
Ali also has Lebanese and Canadian citizenship.
Gantz also designated a number of companies that are primarily engaged in real estate and infrastructure projects in Sudan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria.
The companies that were designated include “Al-Rowad for Real Estate Development Company Ltd (Sudan)” – a Sudanese company that was established in 2010 and merged with several other Hamas companies in Sudan.
Other companies designated by Gantz are the Saudi real estate and construction company, Anda Company, which is one of Hamas’ largest investments in the real estate and construction field; Gantz also designated the Algerian-based Sidar and Agrogate Holding companies.
According to the Treasury Department, Sidar is controlled by Hamas and transfers “a significant portion of funds” to the group’s military arms, the Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Hamas has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. Israel holds the terror group that rules the Gaza Strip for all the violence that originates from the coastal enclaves.