Hamas has been called many things, but it is really only one thing. Let’s take the snake out of the basket. We should be less than charmed.
For the State Department of the United States, Hamas falls under the category of an FTO, or foreign terrorist organization. The organization received this designation from us on October 8, 1997. The European General Court, in what must have been a fit of legal ischemia, took Hamas off their terrorist list in December of 2014. A United Nations committee gave a nod of respectability to Hamas with a vote to allow a Hamas-linked group consultative status. The Palestinian Return Center was recognized as a valid NGO in June 2015. Hamas was allowed to walk in the front door. What about the governing class of Qatar? You can dress them up but you cannot clean them up. State-sponsored terrorism is their hobby. They are the Monte Carlo of terrorist gambits. In 2014 the leadership of Qatar pledged four hundred million to Hamas. This is what can happen when your real estate is on the dinky side but your global aspirations are on megalomaniac scale.
Hamas is successful because of two projections from the political lens. On the one hand, the Palestinians are presented in a minimalist posture, living a Luddite existence and cut off from the world. The second projection is one of aggrandizement. Hamas presents as cas fortuit. Hamas has donned a knight’s hauberk. Images of human suffering are leveraged on scale of bodies floating into Lake Victoria (Rwanda 1994). Unfortunately the only real glut taking place involves transactions with financial bodies. The cause is neither one of ultimate human suffering nor of need for international intervention. This is a local deal, guys. But the typecasting continues to work.
Championing a cause is a virtue. Championing a cause by standing on the backs of the victims is a sham. But using a cause as a means of acquiring a vast wealth management portfolio is a crime. Hamas promises a high rate of return on the investment. Year after year and decade after decade, there is not a high yield of return for peace nor stabilization, or perhaps, normalization of political process. Members of the “firm” are enriched. Their personal goals are not a match for the one projected onto the naïve greater public. Hamas exists because of manipulation modeled on victim restitution. Unfortunately, the real victim is truth.
Perhaps it is time we discuss the gritty and undeniable truth about Hamas. Simply put, it is an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Khalid Meshaal is the Bernie Madoff of the Arab world. Consider abbreviated facts. Let’s look at two of the members of the Hamas Billionaires Club and let’s take a peek at Ismail Haniyeh’s family.
Net worth between 2-5 billion, with Arab commentators weighing in on the higher range based on his investments within the Egyptian and Persian Gulf banking systems.
Dr. Musa abu Marzook:
Net worth is 2-3 billion – based on Arab information sources.
Estimated visible wealth is a modest 4 million. But with assets registered in the name of his son-in-law Nabil, other children, and the children of Hamas officials, the figure could be low-balled.
Gaza Strip boasts a whopping 600 citizens who are millionaires. With a demographic of approximately 1,754,000 do the quick math. While the per capita view is not comparable to wealthy meccas in other regions, the vignette merely serves to remind us that not all animals are created equal.
Hamas relies on sleight of hand to run their global Ponzi scheme. While they hawk their non-existent peace investment, the high rate of return remains in the hands of the leaders of the convoluted wealth management team. While Hamas bullocks about against Israel’s right to exist they are concurrently running hundreds of millions of dollars in cash through their vast tunnel systems, involved in land grabs of the best properties available in Gaza – especially those near the coveted Gush Katif – and dropping merchant tax revenues into their own pockets. They lack the basic Sufism which clothes the man in the simple white shirt which has a pocket on both the chest and the back of the cloth. In Sufi tradition, the pocket at the back contained the money which was for the use of the poor. Hamas makes a respectable show of having a back pocket but the math never adds up. This is not a game of chance, like “Snakes and Ladders”. But the snakes are there. Hamas is an inglorious Ponzi scheme.
Truth is rarely romantic. In fact, it can be an indigestible product unless it is spiced up a bit. Incessant bellicose bellowing against Israel and her right to exist is just silly. All nation rise from the ashes of victor and vanquished. All come into being with displacement and mighty tumults within the population. Israel displaced a population and attained statehood in 1948. Pakistan had their bloody moment a year prior. Hands dipped in blood rinse them off and point the finger at the other. Deflection against reality is the first enemy which marches against truth. All else, make up the flanks.
There was once an Arab, a respected man, who walked through a marketplace not unlike the markets of Gaza. Sticking his hand into a pile of wheat grain he did not accuse, but sought explanation. Glancing briefly at his companions, he offered up a query. “What is that?” The trader replied, “Rain fell upon it.” Looking directly at the trader he simply stated, “Why didn’t you put it on top so that the people could see it? Whoever cheats us is not of us.” (Sahih Muslim, English translation, vol. 1, p. 58, no. 183 and Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation, vol. 2, p. 982, no. 3445.
Hamas has a lot of explaining to do.
- This post will be on the page of Daily Times Pakistan on 6 January