Saturday, May 18, 2024

USAID Hands Almost $1 Million to Hamas Charity in Gaza Linked to Son of Terror Leader Ismail Haniyeh

ResearchGovernment Funding of IslamismUSAID Hands Almost $1 Million to Hamas Charity in Gaza Linked to Son of Terror Leader Ismail Haniyeh

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), along with other Western governments, has handed hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to a terror charity in Gaza involved with the son of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other Hamas officials.

Since 2016, USAID has given over $900,000 to the Bayader Association for Environment and Development. The most recent grant was given on October 1, 2023, just six days before the Hamas’s October 7 attacks, in which almost 1200 Israelis were slaughtered.

One of the men responsible for the October 7 pogrom is Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under U.S. law. Just a few months earlier, in February 2023, Bayader organized an event in the Gazan city of Khan Yunis, in collaboration with Western Islamist charity Islamic Relief. At the ceremony, Bayader staff embraced senior Hamas officials, who were there to launch Bayader’s latest project. Those present included Abdul Salam Haniyeh, the son of Ismail Haniyeh, and himself a leading figure in the terrorist organization.

Hamas official Abdul Salam Haniyeh (second from left), son of terror leader Ismail Haniyeh, at the launch of a project in Gaza in 2023, organized by Islamic Relief and the Bayader Association.

Bayader is listed in federal spending data as a sub-grantee for USAID, with the government monies first routed through a sponsoring U.S. nonprofit, which are ostensibly required to vet their sub-grantees.

U.S. nonprofits that have secured USAID monies for Bayader include major charities such as the Catholic Relief Services, Global Communities, and the International Medical Corps.

USAID has praised Bayader’s work on its own social media, and USAID officials appeared to visit Bayadeer’s offices, where one senior USAID official, Jonathan Kamin, received an award from the terror-linked charity.

Posts on USAID’s social media boast of its taxpayer-funded partnership with Hamas-linked Bayader

Founded in 2007, shortly after Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, Bayader is a prominent institution in the Gaza Strip.

Bayader’s involvement with the Haniyeh family is in line with the group’s history. Bayader often operates in close cooperation with Hamas regime. Indeed, its 2021 annual report notes “coordination” and “meetings” with Hamas’s Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture.

Bayader officials are also regularly seen in the company of other Hamas terror politicians. In March 2023, Hamas’s Ministry of Public Works broadcast its support for Bayader’s efforts to build public infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Bayader also advertises in Hamas media, where it boasts of its USAID funding.

Bayader’s officials, meanwhile, are overtly supportive of terror. The charity’s financial director, Abd Rabbo Saeed Abu Haddaf, has publicly mourned the death of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Ahmed Abu Deka, whom he referred to as a “brother and friend.” Abu Deka served as deputy commander of the Al-Quds Brigades’ rocket forces.

Bayader’s financial director, Abd Rabbo Saeed Abu Haddaf, publicly mourns Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Ahmed Abu Deka, describing him as a “brother and friend.”

Similarly, Ahlam Jama, a Bayadeer “project coordinator” who previously worked for U.S. charities such as the Catholic Relief Services and Mercy Corps, has shared material mourning the death of Baha Abu al-Ata, another Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader.

Other Western nonprofits that fund or partner with Bayader include Islamic Relief Worldwide, Islamic Relief Canada, Islamic Relief Sweden, Islamic Relief Netherlands, Save the Children, American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Caritas Germany, Dutch Relief Alliance, Human Appeal, and Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.

Hamas-linked Bayader and ANERA appear to be close partners

The terror-linked Bayader also receives financial support for other major governments, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Belgium, and Sweden; as well as the United Nations, World Bank, and the European Union.

Hamas and other violent Islamist movements have long made use of charitable programs to expand and consolidate control over Muslim communities. Islamist terror groups refer to this approach as da’wa. The term is usually employed to mean a proselytizing call to Islam, but in the case of Islamist movements and its terror offshoots such as Hamas, it serves as a call to Islamism – and thus a vehicle to impose Islamist rule. Counter-terrorism experts and an increasing number of governments note that the use of charitable da’wah facilitates an influx of largely-unchecked foreign funds, helps to recruit to new members, frees up money for violent operations, and serves to sanitize the reputation of terror movements.

At least $500 million of Hamas’s revenue is believed to be provided through charitable infrastructure. It is not known how much of a subsidy Western taxpayers contribute to these enormous sums, but it is likely to be significant.

Sam Westrop is director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

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