By Baruch Yedid
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced Tuesday that he will forego his paycheck in solidarity with Hamas terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails whose monthly stipends have been frozen by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Instead, he announced that he will disperse his salary among several of their families.
Haniyeh, who currently serves as Hamas’ political chief, made the announcement following mounting voices of dissent in Gaza Strip and protests following the dire financial situation in the Strip.
While Haniyeh’s move could be perceived as a show of solidarity with Gaza’s oppressed citizens and a personal sacrifice on their behalf, a quick review of his financials shows he has no need for the paycheck.
A 2016 report by Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades which was written as a result of an internal power struggle shows that Haniyeh is a partner in a real-estate firm which owns 13 apartment buildings in Gaza. The Haniyeh family owns four apartments in Tubarac and another two in Tel al-Hawa, as well as an estate in which his son Abed lives.
Haniyeh also owns land, several vacation bungalows and other houses at locations throughout the Strip.
The Haniyeh family is also a partner in an electric appliance firm, a jewelry shop, a cement plant and a rock-grinding factory.
Abed al-Bari Atwan, a prominent journalist and editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, wrote in 2014 that Haniyeh’s wealth is estimated at $4 billion. He is believed to have registered the majority of his assets under the name of his son-in-law Nabil and his dozens of family members, including his sisters.
Haniyeh is not the only Hamas leader to accumulate a legendary fortune as his people languish. Khaled Mashal, Hamas’ former politburo chief, is estimated to be worth between $2-5 billion, while Mussa Abu-Marzuk is worth between $2-3 billion. Mashal has invested his assets in Egyptian and Arab Gulf banks and in real-estate projects in the region.
Abu-Marzuk began fundraising among America’s rich Muslims in the 90s, established financing operations and developed them into 10 economic powerhouses.