These Arab cars are parked at a swanky party in באקה אל-גרבייה.

One of the mysteries of the Palestinians are. On the one hand, there is the desolation and squalor of Gaza neighborhoods where hundreds of thousands of Gazans live, and on the other, pictures of the homes owned by Hamas’s top officials, complete with gym equipment and fancy furniture, or else images of the five-star hotel suites where they stay.

It’s quite a conundrum; just how did these new tycoons, who grew up in refugee camps and who wave the banner of helping their people, become so filthily rich in such a short space of time?

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. “Some of them were born of intermarriages between Egyptians and Gazans, with no money at all. In its putative stage, the organization – not yet called Hamas – fed off the Israeli military establishment, which funded Islamic associations in Gaza in an effort to counterbalance Fatah. On the day they decided to cut ties with Israel and seek funding elsewhere, their phenomenal wealth started growing”.

The money, Elad told the Israeli financial newspaper Globes, came from several directions. “Donations by the families of people who dies, charity money, called ‘zakala’ in Arabic 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.”







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