Dollars sent to UN in Gaza end up in Hamas' pockets

Friday, May 28, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

An investigative report by Israel National News published on Thursday revealed that whenever the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza requests an influx of US dollars to pay its staff, the coastal strip's Hamas rulers end up making a killing.

It is curious that UNRWA requests the transfer of US dollars, as it did this week when it called for $12.5 million for staff salaries. The bulk of that money is provided by US taxpayers.

The fact is that all financial transactions in Gaza take place in Israeli shekels, the official currency of the territory. In order for the UNRWA staff to be paid in shekels, the dollars are deposited in the Gaza Postal Bank, which is controlled by Hamas. The bank changes the dollars to shekels, charging a hefty fee to do so. The dollars are then reportedly sold again on the Egyptian black market where they command a much higher price.

Hamas makes a large amount of money both on the initial exchange and by reselling the dollars.

A senior economic researcher cited in the story said further evidence of this is the fact that Hamas always complains of a lack of money. But every time UNRWA receives money, Hamas is suddenly able to pay its own salaries.

Under US law, it is illegal to put taxpayers' dollars towards any organization or movement that may result in that money reaching the hands of terrorists. These laws have been consistently ignored when it comes to the Palestinians.

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