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Israel DM orders seizure of $4m in funding ‘for Hamas’

December 23, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on 2 December 2020 [ALEX KOLOMIENSKY/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz yesterday signed an order to seize $4 million allegedly transferred from Iran to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas. The order was issued against a Gaza-based businessman Zuhir Shamalch and his money changing business, Al-Mutahadun.

According to a statement by the ministry, the funds were sent via the Gaza Strip and intended to enhance Hamas’ infrastructure “including the manufacture of weapons and payments to the organisation’s activists”.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a previous order was signed in February this year, when Shamalch’s company was operating under the name Al-Markaziya Lil-Sirafa. He is believed to have replaced Hamas’ previous “money-changer” Hamad Al-Khodari who was killed last year by the Israeli occupation forces in May and was a close ally to Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar.

At the time, the Israeli military stated “Al-Khodari’s financial activities… significantly contributed to advancing terrorist activities and militarily strengthening terror groups in the Gaza Strip.”

No proof has been given for Israel’s allegations. The occupation state has previously withheld charity funding intended to help those most in need in Gaza, claiming they were aimed at helping the Palestinian resistance.

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In July, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated that Tehran will “spare no effort” in support for the Palestinian resistance in a response letter to Hamas’ political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, like the past, as a religious and human duty and also based on the principles of the Islamic Revolution, will spare no effort for supporting the oppressed Palestinian people and restoration of their rights and fending off the evil of the fake and usurper Zionist regime,” the letter stated.

Earlier this month, in a message to the UN General Assembly Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Palestinian cause and urged the international community to condemn Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran urges international community to take action against such illegal measures taken by the child-killer regime of Israel, which flagrantly violates human rights as well as the resolutions of the United Nations,” he stressed.

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