The U.S. Department of Treasury designated two Palestinian businesses as Specially Designated Global Terrorists Thursday for their support of Hamas. The Islamic National Bank (INB) of Gaza provides financial services to Hamas members, including those of the terrorist group's military wing. The Al-Aqsa television station in Gaza is financed and controlled by Hamas, a Treasury release said.
The designation includes the freezing of all assets of Al-Aqsa television and INB held under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits "U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions" with these organizations.
According to the Treasury press release:
"While posing as a legitimate financial institution, INB is providing Hamas with a means to receive and store large amounts of smuggled cash to use at the organization's discretion."
The INB, meanwhile was established in April 2009 with $20 million in start-up capital. "The INB's board of directors and its senior management consist of high-ranking and prominent Hamas activists," the Treasury statement said. The Palestinian Authority declared that the bank was illegal from the onset, because it did not apply for the necessary licenses and permits.
Al-Aqsa TV, financed and controlled by Hamas, promotes terrorism, the incitement of hatred against Jews and the glorification of martyrdom among adults and children. The Treasury release notes that the station "airs programs and music videos designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood."
For example, in April 2007 Al Aqsa TV introduced a Mickey Mouse character called Farfour, who asks a young girl on the phone named "Sanabel" what she will do "for the sake of the Al-Aqsa Mosque." The girl replies, "We will annihilate the Jews," and "I will commit martyrdom." See here for the full transcript of the show available from MEMRI.
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey reiterated Treasury's commitment "to expose Hamas's efforts to create institutions with the trappings of legitimacy that are in fact controlled by and used to support a terrorist organization."