According to a Hadith in the Koran, “A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry.” Tell that to the leaders of Hamas, one of the world’s most fanatical terrorist groups waging a bloody holy war against Jews and all non-believers to liberate the holy city of Jerusalem.
The poverty rate in the Gaza Strip is one of the highest on earth. In 2019, the Ministry for Social Development in Gaza claimed that the poverty and unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip were close to an astounding 75%; some 70% were food insecure, and close to 40% lived in extreme poverty. Less than half of the estimated two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip meet their basic needs for sustenance. United Nations estimates aren’t as grim but place the plight of Gazans in the realm of pure misery. The use of illegal narcotics is endemic in the fundamentalist-ruled enclave.
It didn’t have to be that way, of course. Had the Palestinian leadership adhered to the principles of the Oslo Accord and stood by international agreements, the Gaza Strip could have become a mini-Singapore—a small pocket of independence and financial vision that could have been of great benefit to the entire Middle East. The local population would have flourished; they would have had peace. But PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat took billions of dollars of western and Arab aid straight into his private piggy bank. What he and his cronies didn’t steal they used to pay killers and buy weapons. Arafat turned the Gaza Strip into a hub of terror and unleashed legions of suicide bombers and gunmen during the second intifada.
Hamas seized Gaza in a bloody coup, taking Arafat’s template of total war against the Jewish state and perfecting it with sociopath zeal. Hamas received billions of dollars in Gulf Arab aid money earmarked for the inhabitants who lived inside the cities and refugee camps of the Gaza Strip. Instead, that desperately needed money financed the acquisition of tens of thousands of missiles and rockets aimed at Israeli civilian targets. Cash that should have developed infrastructure, fixed sewage issues, built homes, hospitals, and schools, paid the salaries of terrorists. The oil money, as well as funds from Iran and Turkey, bought concrete: but instead of using the material to construct a better life for the people of Gaza, it was used to build an elaborate network of terror tunnels dug deep underneath the squalor to reach into southern Israel to be used as a launching pad for attacks that would kidnap Israeli civilians and spark devastatingly destructive wars.
The logo and flag of Hamas feature the al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas leaders vow to capture Jerusalem and destroy Israel for Islam and the Palestinian people. The fiery jihadist rhetoric delivered by the group’s religious and political leadership in sermons and speeches that upon everyone to sacrifice their lives in the name of the struggle. But rather than deliver their words of doomsday destruction from the front lines of Gaza, the leaders of Hamas do so in the lap of luxury, enjoying excess at the expense of millions of needy people.
The terror chieftains are living an opulent life of five-star hotels, private jets, Michelin meals, and fast-growing eight and nine-figure balances in their Swiss bank accounts, while the people they govern languish in misery, unemployment, and malnutrition. Hamas leaders sleep in their satin pajamas tucked into bed at the Ritz Carlton in Doha. They fly around the Middle East in Gulfstream private jets, checking in on the millions they’ve stolen from the poor people who they order to their deaths. The stench of the corruption is worse than the festering raw sewage flowing in the Gazan streets. The leaders of Hamas check their gold Rolex watches—ostentatious baubles that were paid for with oil dollars and donations by concerned people who want to help the Palestinian cause—to see when it’s time to launch rockets at Israeli civilians. Hamas controls all the charities that funnel well-intentioned funds to Gaza. And, since the arch terrorists have taken a page out of the King James Bible with the proverb “Charity Begins at Home,” the new millionaires have turned suffering into their windfall.
The hypocrisy would be nauseating were it not for the fact that these men who lead a terror campaign blame Israel for all of Gaza’s woes and have abandoned Gaza altogether. Ismail Haniya, the Hamas political chief, smuggled his wife and children out of Gaza for a Qatar-based lifestyle of the rich and infamous. Khalil al-Hayya, the deputy head of Hamas in Gaza, moved his family out of the Strip and into luxurious digs in Doha, the Qatari capital. There, on streets gridlocked with Rolls Royce sedans, Bentleys, Porsches, and the odd Astin Martin, al-Hayya will have his pick of luxury seats for the most coveted matches in the World Cup that’ll be held in Qatar later this year.
Khaled Meshal, one of the organization’s top henchmen who the Mossad tried—but failed—to assassinate in 1997, is worth an estimated multimillion-dollar portfolio that includes a Qatar-based real-estate empire with holdings throughout the Middle East. While Gazans are insidiously used as human shields, Meshal uses money meant for the poor and the underprivileged to expand his ever-growing list of lucrative properties. As Meshal’s firm builds skyscrapers and shopping malls in Doha, the residents of Gaza sift through the trash for food.
Doha might have become the Revolutionary’s Riveria, but other Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist commanders from Gaza have found the penthouses, presidential suites, and palatial villas of Istanbul, Beirut, and Damascus more to their liking.
It seems as if bloodshed in Gaza is nothing more than a Ponzi-like extortion racket meant to skim from the rebuilding capital that floods into the strip following yet another failed attempt to liberate Jerusalem and vanquish Israel. And that’s the true tragedy. As the Hadith articulates, the men who lead a holy war against Israel are nothing more than killers and grifters. They are most certainly not believers or men of true faith.