Hamas’s rule is underwritten to a large extent by Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich sheikhdom in the Persian Gulf, among others, writes Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum and a former Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence official.
Beginning in 2018, Qatar delivered funds in cash to Gaza to the tune of $30 million a month.
According to an arrangement reached in May 2021, after a conflict between Israel and Hamas, Qatar began to send fuel (valued at between $7-$10 million per month) to Gaza via Egypt, freeing funds for Hamas from the proceeds of resale, Roman said in an article for Washington Examiner.
These were used to pay Hamas government salaries as well as to aid poor Gazans, but it is likely that a significant majority wound up financing terrorist activities.
Qatar also pledged $500 million to help rebuild Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader, resides in Doha, Qatar’s capital.
So, too, does Khaled Mashal, who preceded Haniyeh as the terrorist organisation’s leader and now serves as his second-in-command.
Khalil al-Hayyah, who had served as the deputy of Yahya Sinwar (Hamas’s leader in Gaza), also decamped to Doha.
Other leading Hamas officials live in Qatar as well, Roman said.
The family of Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who was executed by the Islamic State (IS), alleged in a federal lawsuit in 2022 that Qatar Charity and Qatar National Bank had wired $800,000 to the IS official who ordered the beheading of Sotloff and James Foley, another American journalist.
Like Iran, Qatar blamed Israel entirely for Hamas’s onslaught.
Qatar’s foreign ministry stated: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel solely responsible for the ongoing escalation due to its ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which was the repeated incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police.”