New Delhi: Hamas is a terrorist organisation, but it does not have any links with terror outfits based in Pakistan, according to Nevo Barchad, head of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Regional Security and Counter-Terrorism Department (Strategic Affairs Division). Hamas, however, does have some amount of contacts with Malaysian terror operatives, Barchad said.
Addressing a virtual press briefing from Jerusalem, Barchad was responding to a question about the Hamas’ potential ties with other terrorist organisations.
“I am not familiar of any ties that Hamas has with Pakistan. We are aware of some sort of ties between Hamas and Malaysia — with some operatives in Malaysia and not on a big scale — but nothing that we are aware of with Pakistan,” Barchad said.
The press conference was held days after Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, announced a ceasefire following nearly two weeks of intense violence in the tense region. The violence began with protests in the contested city of Jerusalem over restrictions on Ramzan gatherings (later revoked) and the planned eviction of certain Palestinian families from their homes.
Barchad said Hamas should be declared a terrorist organisation by India as well as the international community, and only then will it stop receiving funds from unscrupulous sources.
“India is obviously an empire, a very important country with great weight in the international community. We believe that the international community as a whole should signal not only to Hamas but to terrorism, all over the world, that choosing the path of violence is wrong and not only wrong, but it’s also not fruitful …” he added.
“Without the proper support of funding, Hamas will lose ground and will lose assistance from the civil society.”
‘3 sources of Hamas funds’
According to Barchad, the funding sources of Hamas can be divided into three broad categories. First, he said it is state support that mainly comes from Iran, together with Turkey and Qatar.
“They are collecting funds from citizens and in mosques and in other charities (to support Hamas),” he said.
The second source, he added, is “camouflaged companies” that run “legitimate businesses” but their royalties are “going back” to Hamas, which is helping them to go for large-scale military build-up.
The final source of funding, he said, is charity organisations based out of the UK, The Netherlands, France and Belgium, among others. Thus, he said, Israel is working with these countries to terminate their linkages with these charity organisations.
“We don’t really see any prospect of having any peace agreement with Hamas. They openly call for destruction of the state of Israel… The right solution will be the Hamas regime stepping down and the PA (Palestinian Authority) taking over and then the PA and Israelis will sit together and come together for a long-lasting peace agreement,” he added.
The Palestinian Authority is the government of Palestine, which came into being through the Oslo Accords of 1993. However, in 2007, Gaza was taken over by Hamas and it has controlled the place since.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)