A senior Hamas field operative from the northern West Bank criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak's 'declaration of war' on Monday against global funds working to support Hamas.
Barak recently signed an edict outlawing the operations of 36 charity funds party to the 'Union of Good' organization in Israel after having declared them to be directly involved in fundraising operations for the Islamist group.
However, the operative asserted, the 36 global funds singled out by Israel are completely unaffiliated with funding Hamas' activities and work solely to aid orphans and the destitute. Furthermore, he said, the funds in question were openly advertised in the Arab media and their business was handled not only by Palestinian banks but Israeli ones as well.
According to him, the Palestinian Authority has recently increased its monitoring of these funds. "Accountants and supervisors from the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs, who are waging a battle against Hamas and those who are needy far greater than Israel's, can prove that all monetary transactions are completely legal.
"For over two years the money isn't passed around in charity envelopes or cash, but rather it is transferred to the families just as is required by law – through wire transfers or checks," he said.
'Hamas is a global empire'
The source said Defense Ministry's recent course of action is merely a move meant to bolster its image and affect public opinion in Israel. He said that those who will suffer from the ban are tens of thousands of needy Palestinians aided by Hamas. "Their frustration and rage won't be directed at Hamas, but at those who cut their aid – Israel and the Palestinian Authority," he warned.
The top operative said that as opposed to Israel's stated objective, the war on the funds and charity groups have not and will not dent Hamas' operation: "It's true that sometimes, in certain places, it is
difficult to work underground. But the actions (Israel's) won't prevent us from aiding people. A movement like Hamas has thousands of ways to reach people.
"If two or three criminals can manage to establish a money laundering operation, then certainly a movement like Hamas – which is based in places all over the world – will not find it difficult to evade the war being waged against it by Israel and the PA. Hamas is a global empire."
Hamas has so far refrained from issuing an official response to the defense minister's decision.