Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai: “The egotistical Hamas terror organization has robbed funds that are meant for the needy of Gaza from international organizations. Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror. How long will the world and the Gazan people ignore this?”
The terror organization Hamas never misses an opportunity to exploit the assistance and good-will of international humanitarian organizations in order to develop its terror infrastructure at the expense of Gaza’s residents. Hamas routinely plants its operatives in key positions in such international organizations, with the purpose of seizing resources and redirecting them for terror activities. A recent example is Muhammad Faruq Sha’aban Murtaja, a Gazan building engineer, who was planted in the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) Murtaja is the latest in a long line of similar occurrences. World Vision, UNRWA and many other organizations have fell victims at the hands of Hamas’ infiltration and exploitation . The activities of these organizations have suffered, as their reputation has been tainted due to them being declared as facilitators of terrorism. These events have triggered diplomatic incidents between countries which finance these organizations and Israel. Ultimately, the primary victim is the Palestinian resident of Gaza whose access to food , shelter, education and a brighter future for their children is denied so that Hamas can continue its murderous terrorism.
From a Civil Engineer to a Terror Engineer
Approximately one month ago, Israeli forces arrested Muhammad Faruq Sha’aban Murtaja, a Gazan resident and civil engineer, who for the past several years served as the branch manager in the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). Murtaja’s interrogation revealed how he exploited his seniority in the agency in order to aid Hamas’ terror activities at the expense of the Palestinian public in Gaza – without the knowledge of the Agency’s senior leadership and the Turkish government.
Muhammad Murtaja, Hamas operative who infiltrated TIKA and the IHH
Murtaja was born in 1977, studied in Turkey and was recruited by Hamas in 2008. During 2009, he joined an engineering unit of Hamas’ military wing, while at the same time serving as deputy director of IHH in Gaza – an Islamic Turkish NGO, declared as a terrorist organization by several countries, which seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel. Murtaja subsequently sought to infiltrate TIKA, an organization which provides humanitarian aid to Muslims across the world. In light of TIKA’s resources and his extensive past experience with Turkish organizations, Murtaja set forth to become involved in the organization.
Terrorists’ Wedding, Scholarships for the “Needy”, Apartment for Every Terrorist and the transfer of money and food: Murtaja Diverted Funding from TIKA to Hamas’ Terror Activities
Since joining TIKA in 2012, Murtaja diverted to Hamas money and resources that were intended for civilian projects for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, adding up to millions of dollars. At the behest of the Hamas leadership, Murtaja fabricated lists of “students” and n”eedy,” which consisted exclusively of Hamas operatives so as to exploit the resources allocated to Gaza’s residents. From these fabricated lists, $3 million were transferred to the pocket of Hamas. Another example of Murtaja’s illicit activity “Mass Wedding in Gaza for the Needy” project, which received $4 million in funding from TIKA – all of which was transferred to members of Hamas without TIKA’s knowledge. Most of the “grooms” were active members of Hamas’ military wing, including Abd al-Islam, the son of then deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh, along with others in the Hamas leadership, were the ones determining who participated in the “wedding”.
The mass wedding, orchestrated by Hamas and funded by TIKA (5.31.2015)
Murtaja dragged TIKA into a $13 million construction project for 20 residential buildings intended for needy residents of the Gaza Strip, which in reality were built exclusively for members of Hamas’ military wing. In other projects entitled “Humanitarian Aid for the Gaza Strip,”, Murtaja transferred an additional $2 million to the families of terrorists associated with the military wing. Any connection between the names of these projects and the purposes they served is purely circumstantial.
The examples of Hamas’ exploitation does not stop at residential construction or redirecting funds to families of terrorists – it extends much further. During Operation Protective Edge, 84,000 packages of food which were intended for the needy during hostilities, were redirected to Hamas terrorists. These examples explicitly show how Hamas’ military wing receives preferential treatment at the expense of Gaza’s residents. Hamas is playing the role of a reverse Robin Hood – stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.
Murtaja Terror, Inc.
While at TIKA, Murtaja diverted millions to terrorist activities abusing his positions in IHH and Hamas’ military engineering unit. Murtaja, with financial aid from IHH, transferred $80,000 for the construction of a swimming pool with the purpose of training Hamas’ naval commandos at the “Bader” outpost and 11,000 ILS to finance uniforms for Hamas’ special forces. Additional funds were directed for the construction of outposts, tunnel excavations, and the smuggling of armaments into the Strip. All of these operations were carried out strategically with the involvement of Hamas leadership, including Marwan Issa, the second in command of the military wing and a member of Hamas’ political bureau. With the intent of raising funds for the military wing, high ranking members of IHH organized Turkish delegations to Gaza that were given a demonstration of the military wing’s capabilities.
The bottom line is clear – the leadership of the terror organization Hamas, specifically Ismail Hanhiyeh and Yahya Sinwar, are not working in the interest of the needy residents of Gaza, rather only for Hamas terrorists and terror infrastructure. The terror organization chooses to fund the manufacturing of rockets at the expense of future generations. It ruthlessly strips Gazans’ rights to build schools, wear warm clothes and receive scholarships that could ensure their future. Instead of taking care of the needs of the people of Gaza, Hamas invests in wasteful and extravagant projects to advance its terrorist agenda. While Hamas complains about conditions in the Gaza Strip, claiming it is on the verge of collapse, members of Hamas are living prosperously while they exploit humanitarian organizations’ resources to fund their terrorist lifestyle.
The terrorist organization Hamas proves time and again that it is prepared to hold the residents of Gaza hostage for the advancement of their goals. When possible, Hamas is more than glad and willing, to steal from Gaza’s residents, undermining the international community’s aid efforts. As far as Hamas is concerned, the more funds it can extort from the world, the better.