International

Hamas security forces in Gaza City stand guard as employees paid by the Palestinian Authority wait to receive their salaries outside a closed bank, on Thursday, June 5, 2014
Israel Forbes says Hamas has annual revenues of $1 billion, second only to those of the Islamic State group

Hamas is the world's second richest terror group, according to a report in the Israeli edition of Forbes.

The richest terrorist organization in history is the Islamic State, with various estimates placing its annual revenue at $2-3 billion. According to Israel Forbes, Hamas comes in second, with a yearly revenue of $1 billion.

Colombia's FARC is ranked third with $600 million; Hezbollah is fourth with $500 million; fifth is the Taliban with $400 million; al-Qaida and its affiliates with $150 million; Pakistani-based Lashkar e-Taiba with $100 million - tied with Somalia's Al-Shabaab; Real IRA with $50 million; Boko Haram, with $25 million in annual revenues.

Most IS revenue comes from the sale of Syrian and Iraqi oil on the black market at 40 to 75 percent less than the market price. The organization is estimated to be pocketing $3 million daily from these sales.

Hamas reportedly gets $1 billion annually from taxing goods that come in to the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since 2007, and from charitable contributions by organizations and individuals abroad. Various reports indicate that over the years it has also been taking a cut from the funding provided by Western and Arab governments to help Gaza's impoverished 1.8 million Palestinians. A 2010 assessment by Israel's Shin Bet security agency put the organization's expenditures on salaries and weaponry at some $300 million.

Despite a downturn in its fortunes – with Iran and Egypt cutting off aid in recent years, it has money-bearing investments. i24news analyst Ali Waked says the organization reaps revenues from investments in tourism and entertainment businesses in Turkey, South America and elsewhere.

Hamas is also receiving funds from Qatar, and last month Arab and Western governments pledged $5.4 billion in aid to rebuild the coastal enclave, parts of which were demolished in the summer war with Israel.

A German member of the European Parliament, Arne Gericke, said Tuesday that the funding promised by the European Union for the reconstruction could directly contribute to terrorism without proper oversight.

Gericke, of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, spoke at a hearing in the European Parliament on nongovernmental organizations supported by the EU that back terrorism, which was organized by European Friends of Israel.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the MEP said EU payment controls were “light years behind where they should be.”

“Proper checks and balances must be put into place. As thing stand, we cannot be sure that EU funds are not being used for terror tunnels and weapons. It would sicken most [European] taxpayers to know that the EU itself could be directly contributing to the tragic cycle of violence,” he said.

Gericke pointed out that every US aid dollar is subject to congressional oversight and is regulated even after it is in Palestinian bank accounts, but MEPs don’t have such power and the EU does not have that control over funding.

The EU pledged €450 million to rebuilding Gaza. The Post report noted that in December 2013, the European Court of Auditors found that nearly €2 billion in aid was untraceable; €400 million of the missing funds went to the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.

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