Israeli Military Courts Aim to Cut Off Hamas Funding
JNS.org – In the wake of a European Union (EU) court removing Hamas from the EU’s terror blacklist, Israeli military courts are countering that move by imposing harsher penalties on anyone caught transferring funds to terrorist groups.
The shift in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) policy began last week, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Thursday, with a precedent-setting ruling that increased the fine imposed on offenders who provide and transfer funding to Hamas. So far, the penalty had been a fine of up to 20 percent of the sum in question. Now, the court can impose fines as high as the entire sum, or even higher.
The IDF said the new policy’s objective is to target the financial infrastructure of terrorist organizations. The decision was fueled by the understanding that terrorist organizations, namely Hamas, rely heavily on these money transfers to carry out attacks.
“It is time to drastically change the way we address the issue,” said Lt. Col. Morris Hirsch, an attorney at the Judean military court. “This decision will address the issue of terrorist money transfers. It might be a game-changer.”
The precedent-setting ruling came in the case of a Palestinian woman convicted of transferring $25,4000 to a Hamas operative in Gaza at her son’s behest. The woman was fined $12,700 and sentenced to a year in prison. According to Hirsch, the court deals with dozens of illegal money transfer cases each year, with some cases involving sums in the millions.
“Terrorism survives on this money. That is why we have decided to cut off the supply,” Hirsch said.