update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

US not acting against Hamas-linked charities flagged by Israel

The Biden administration wants more evidence of the terror connections.

Hamas terrorists celebrate the eighth anniversary of kidnapping the corpse of Israeli soldier Shaul Aron, July 20, 2022. Photo by Anas-Mohammed/Shutterstock.
Hamas terrorists celebrate the eighth anniversary of kidnapping the corpse of Israeli soldier Shaul Aron, July 20, 2022. Photo by Anas-Mohammed/Shutterstock.

The United States is refusing to act against many nonprofit organizations that Israel has linked to the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

Citing Western officials, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Biden administration and other allied governments are seeking credible evidence of terror connections to certain charities before issuing sanctions amid a surge in contributions to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas attack on Israel of Oct. 7.

The apparent disagreement over which nonprofits are legitimate and which are terrorism financiers and the lack of action from Washington comes more than four months after a multinational task force on the matter was set up in the wake of the Hamas massacre in southern Israel. The task force on terrorism finance includes the U.S., Israel and more than a dozen allies.

Sanctions have been applied to “Hamas financiers, currency exchanges and corporate networks, as well as offering multimillion-dollar bounties for information on financial facilitators.” However, many charities flagged by Israel as terror front groups are not being punished by the U.S. government.

These charities, including many in the U.S. and Europe, have directed tens of millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip since the war began.

While the U.S. has acted against several organizations, a senior American official said that in a lot of cases, “allies have been asking for credible evidence for a long time, but are still waiting.”

U.S. officials said they are cautious about playing into Hamas propaganda by potentially targeting legitimate humanitarian organizations.

“When we have credible evidence of sham charities that terrorists are using to raise or move funds, we will not hesitate to designate them,” the senior official told the Journal.

Examples of groups the U.S. has yet to act against include Michigan-based LaunchGood and Islamic Relief Worldwide.

According to the report, the regime in Tehran supplies Hamas with around $100 million a year. Other sources of revenue include a global investment portfolio and donations from international nonprofit organizations. The terrorist group also collected roughly $600 million in annual tax revenue, which Israel took away with its Oct. 27 ground invasion.

“We are already seeing online grassroots campaigns, linked to so-called charities that we’ve previously designated, solicit funds under the guise of humanitarianism,” said Brian Nelson, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. 

Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former U.S. intelligence analyst, told the Journal that Hamas runs a large network of charities that finance schools, hospitals and other activities that play an actual humanitarian role but also supply the terrorist group’s “military” wing.

“They overlap tremendously,” Byman said of the Islamist group’s humanitarian efforts and terrorist operations.

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