I seem to be on a “Palestinian kick” this week. Yesterday we discussed some “interesting” social mores among male Palestinians. Today we will discuss the need to reward Hamas leaders with a pension (and I’ll mention the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as well).
I will begin by saying that Hamas leaders do not appear to need a pension. Why is that, ask you? Because, answer I, they are worth millions (and in many instances, billions). I also, previously posted on this matter,
[Sources: Gaza’s Millionaires and Billionaires — How Hamas’s Leaders Got Rich Quick, by Deborah Danan; Yasser Arafat fast facts; Khaled Mashal fast facts]
Let’s take up the case of the recently retired leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashal (Mashaal, Meshal, Meshaal – it appears that journalists never actually were able to determine the accurate spelling of his name). When he left “office” his net worth was estimated at approximately $2.6 billion. However, Arab commentators (based on their many sources) estimates are as high as $5 billion. The “assets” are distributed widely in Egyptian and Persian Gulf banks, and some in real estate projects in the Persian Gulf countries. Thus it is difficult to get an accurate total.
How did he amass such a fortune ask you? Did he inherit it? Well, he was born in Silwad, West Bank, a place not known for it wealthy inhabitants. His father was an Imam. Again, not a profession likely to amass great wealth.
Then clearly Mashal was the CEO and originator of a Fortune 400 company, state you. Not really, answer I. From 1978-1984 he was a physics teacher in Kuwait.
In a similar way, Yasser Arafat, the now dead terrorist and leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) died quite wealthy – although he did a better job of hiding his assets. Suha Arafat, widow of the late Palestinian leader, has withdrawn tens of millions of dollars’ worth of investment from Tunis (estimated to be in the vicinity of $40 million), prompting the Tunisian authorities to strip her of the Tunisian citizenship. However, well-connected sources in Ramallah have intimated that Suha Arafat “inherited” hundreds of millions of dollars registered under her deceased husband’s name in several European banks. The vast bulk of the money is believed to have belonged to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). (Arafat’s father was a merchant and he was a civil engineer.)
According to Dr. Moshe Elad, a Middle East expert from the Western Galilee Academic College, most of the founders of Hamas were refugees or direct descendants of refugees (i.e., they were very poor). After the formation of Hamas (originally funded by none other than the Israeli military to counter Fatah – “the enemy of my enemy”) the organization began to seek funding elsewhere. Voila, their phenomenal wealth started growing.
The money, came from several directions. “Donations by the families… charities, and the donations of various countries. It started with Syria, Saudi Arabia, then Iran, one of the main sponsors, and ended with Qatar which has today taken Iran’s place.” (Ergo, the current blockade by their Arab neighbors).
And let us not forget the campaigns to raise money in the US, which brings us to our next “Hamas leader.” “Moussa Abu Marzouk,” Elad says, “started raising funds among the rich Muslims in America and also established several bank funds.” Over time he built a conglomerate of 10 financial operations “that give loans and conduct investments. He’s an amazing financier.”
In 1995 the US arrested Abu Marzouk for activities supporting terrorism and after two years in jail, he was deported without trial. But he kept the money.” Today, Abu Marzouk is one of the major billionaires in Hamas. “Arab estimates peg his fortune at 2-3 billion dollars,” Elad says.
Pan-Arab London based paper, Asharq al Awsat, which is considered a reliable media outlet, recently ran a story saying there are 600 millionaires in Gaza. The Hamas leadership takes over crucial industries like communications and gasoline as soon as they take the reins.
Here is what the media shows as the the pictures of Gaza:
But, this is also Gaza:
I vote for no pensions. How about you?