As Gaza collapses, Hamas leaders make billions abroad

Ismail Haniyeh is worth an estimated $4b, Musa Abu Marzouk around $3b.

By Baruch Yadid | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks at a protest in Gaza, Sept. 30, 2019. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks at a protest in Gaza, Sept. 30, 2019. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS.

While nearly a million residents of Gaza are displaced by war, Hamas’s top leaders and their families have been enriching themselves.

The Hamas leadership controls an investment portfolio estimated at close to $1 billion and owns assets in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt and other places.

Hamas imposes taxes of 20% on goods smuggled from Egypt to the Strip through tunnels. Reports also indicate that Hamas earns an estimated $450 million annually from Gaza’s black market trade.

Iran is believed to provide Hamas leaders with a $100 million expense account.

But three of the terrorist group’s top figures stand head and shoulders above the rest for amassing personal fortunes in the billions.

 

Ismail Haniyeh and family

At the very top is Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s politburo, whose personal fortune is estimated at $4 billion.

Haniyeh mostly divides his time between Qatar and Turkey, periodic visits to Iran and Lebanon.

Sources in Gaza say that the Haniyeh family owns a large number of real estate properties in the Strip as well as electrical equipment and furniture companies, in partnership with the Shalesh family, which has family ties to Haniyeh.

Haniyeh’s son Abdel Salam has drawn criticism for using his position overseeing youth sports to enrich himself. He serves as chairman of the Amuaj Council for Sports and is also a member of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports. Abdel Salam’s ties to Qatar, which hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, raised further questions.

Abdel Salam also owns numerous properties around the Gaza Strip.

He raised Palestinian ire several years ago for a photograph with his father next to his new luxury car, an advanced Nissan model, on the streets of Gaza.

The extended Haniyeh family also has partnerships in concrete factories, stone-crushing facilities and a jewelry store.

 

Khaled Mashaal and his deputy

Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas abroad and former head of the political bureau, lives in Qatar.

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Majlah reported in 2021 that Mashaal and his deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk, exploited international aid funds and donations meant for the Gaza Strip. Mashaal used the money to build a valuable collection of real estate holdings in Egypt, Qatar and the Persian Gulf, while Abu Marzouk now controls 10 large companies that deal in finance.

Both Abu Marzouk, who has a reported personal wealth of $3 billion, and Mashaal, travel widely for Hamas.

Mashaal has been photographed in recent years spending time in gyms, flying in a private jet and staying in luxury hotels. For all this, the Arab media gave Mashaal the derogatory nickname “Son Without a Home.”