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08 March 2006

How U.S. Tax Dollars Fund Hamas

NORTHERN GAZA BORDER- One major reason for the success of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections is its widespread social network. The group that wants to destroy Israel also has a compassionate side when it comes to Palestinian Muslims

But the U.S. taxpayer may be helping to fund Hamas social services.

CBN News sent a crew to Gaza to learn about Hamas' rise to success. When Hamas representatives were asked where would be the best place to see the group in action, they suggested the Al Wafa Charitable Society.

The Al Wafa Society welcomed its visitors with pictures of Hamas leaders, a USAID sign at the entrance, and a security guard asking who gave the crew permission to be there.

The Bush administration has been working hard to keep Hamas isolated and to boycott Hamas financially. But it may be too late; whether U.S. leaders knew it or not, American taxpayer dollars have been flowing here to many Palestinian groups, including Hamas.

Money from the U.S. and other western countries was earmarked for the Palestinian people, but Hamas benefited as well. Take, for example, the Medical Islamic Corporation, run by Hamas and funded in part with U.S. money: it boasts a hospital and elder care center, a handicap rehabilitation center, gardens for people with special needs, and medical education funding for Islamists from the University of Gaza.

“Hamas established many charitable organizations that support the poor and they provided free medical care,” said one Palestinian Hamas supporter. “And the people recognized it. I trust people with religion, and I don't trust people with no religion and no ethics.”

A number of groups helped fund the Hamas programs, including: USAID, through the United Palestinian Appeal and Welfare Organization; the British Department for International Development, and the management of The World Bank; and Germany, through the United Nations Development Program.

CBN News asked a USAID representative if he was aware that American money was going to Hamas. He said he would respond, but never did.

The funds helped Hamas gain more public support through their humanitarian activities. Now, observers believe the outcome of the Hamas victory will be a Palestinian Islamic state--based on Sharia law-- bordering Israel.

The crowds in Gaza support that sentiment. A Hamas women chanted, “Your best way is? Al jihad! Your best wish is? To die Allah's way!"

And a Palestinian girl exclaimed, "We need to apply al-Sharia!"

At a Gaza demonstration, the crowd chanted to warn Jews that the era of Mohammed is coming back, along with a tax to be paid by all non-Muslims.

“In Allah's will, we will defeat America and Israel,” said Hamas member of parliament Ahmed Baher.

Hassan Al-Sabah is a radical Islamist and a Hamas member. He had his legs amputated after an Israeli rocket attack. Hamas is taking care of all his medical needs -- another example of the charity work in action.

“As Palestinians, let us kick out the Jews first, then take care of the rest later on,” Al-Sabah said. “What makes us special as Hamas? We are under one leadership, different than others. We are disciplined. As they say, our brothers (in Hamas), we obey. Our obedience to the Amir (the Prince) is a part of obeying our prophet.”

Al-Sabah would be happy for Hamas to keep getting U.S. money, but he says the enemies of his faith are in the U.S. and Israel.

“There are brothers abroad who can take care of America, but let us (Hamas) finish with the Jews for the time being,” He said.

Even as President Bush was taking a tough line against Hamas in recent speeches, a U.S. State Department official assured the Palestinians that they would continue to get humanitarian aid.

Those are the kind of mixed messages Hamas is counting on to stick to its ultimate goals for as long as the dollars and euros keep flowing.

Al-Sabah said, “And when the promise comes, we will send to you (Jews) our Ibad (slaves of Islam) with great courage. We do hope to be the Ibad who will defeat Israel

By John Waage
CBN News Sr. Analyst

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