The latest Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza left behind $1 million in U.S. dollars and vehicles loaded with various supplies. A Palestinian media report says Hamas political and terrorist leaders now are fighting over those assets.
The Voice of Palestine, a news agency run by Fatah (the governing Palestinian body in the West Bank), issued a report on January 19, 2010 which sheds light on the distribution of VP "aid." Fatah and Hamas are political rivals and have waged a violent power struggle. The story, translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, describes the conflict between the political and militant leaders of Hamas.
According to the article titled "al Ja'abri Bursts Into Haniyeh's Office and Steals Documents and Files Concerning Huge Amounts of Money," Ahmad al Ja'abari, the head of the Qassam brigades – the Hamas military wing – became engaged in a heated argument with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh over the distribution of Viva Palestinian funds. At one point, Ja'abari demanded to see the money that had been given to Hamas by Galloway's group, and then:
"al Ja'abari immediately removed $600,000 and returned the rest. He said to Haniyeh 'We'll go with this amount for the time being. Don't forget that al Qassam's share is greater than your shares. What you collect from the people is enough for you…and don't forget our share of the vehicles."
As we previously reported, the third Viva Palestina (VP) convoy arrived in the Gaza Strip, delivering what it termed "humanitarian aid" to the Palestinian government run by Hamas. Now, with the convoy having departed Gaza and the supplies beginning to be meted out, the actual beneficiaries of the financial and logistical support are becoming clear. Not only were the funds given to Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, but they are being withheld from the Palestinian people to support Hamas militants.
Despite clearly proclaiming their intentions to support Hamas, groups such as VP have often gotten a pass because they relied on the largely debunked myth that terrorist groups have "wings," and that it is possible to aid the humanitarian efforts of a group without necessarily supporting its terrorist activity. For anybody who still clings to this fallacy, events this week in the Gaza Strip should serve as a wake-up call.
Although the revelation of this meeting is enlightening on a number of fronts, there is at least point of note that cannot be avoided—any group which gives money to a terrorist organization under the guise of supporting humanitarian missions is willfully ignoring facts if they believe that their money won't end up supporting acts of violence.
Read more in our report on Viva Palestina here.