The Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) on Thursday announced the arrest of a top Hamas terrorist, Mohammed Toameh, who was captured in April.
A member of Hamas' top decision-making body, Toameh revealed how Hamas was using Islamic groups inside Israel to fund terror attacks and Hamas activities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel – and how the terror group makes its money.
The 51-year old Toameh, originally from Tul Karem in Samaria, has been living in Saudi Arabia for almost 40 years. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1983, moving over to Hamas when that terror group was established in 1987.
In 2004, he was named a member of Hamas' “General Shura Council,” the terror group's top decision-making body, headed by Khaled Mashaal. Toameh said that a total of 8 Muslim Brotherhood members, representing “world Jihad,” are members of the Council.
The terrorist was arrested on April 14 as he attempted to enter Israel from Jordan, via the Allenby Bridge crossing. He was indicted Thursday in a Samaria military court, Shabak officials said. Under interrogation, he told investigators about Hamas' use of Israeli Arab groups to fund various activities designed to foment unrest inside Israel.
Paying to keep Jews off the Temple Mount
For example, he said, the Islamist groups inside Israel launder Hamas cash and “donate” it to a group of young Muslims on the Temple Mount.
Ostensibly studying Islam, the true task of the members of that group, Toameh said, was to prevent Jews from ascending the Mount. It is they who begin to riot and throw rocks and stones when Jewish groups try to visit the Temple Mount, he said. For this “work,” members of the group earn between NIS 4,000-5,000 a month according to Toameh.
Another group involved in these riots, Amara al-Aqsa, was closed down by the Shabak in 2013 on suspicion of cooperation with Hamas. Toameh confirmed that the terror group indeed worked the Jerusalem Islamist group.
There is a particularly strong connection between the Islamic Movement in Israel, headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, and Hamas, Toameh said. The Israeli government recently began to discuss banning the group headed by Salah, a serial troublemaker responsible for dozens of incidents of unrest throughout Israel. Toameh said that Hamas tries to keep its relationship with Salah and other Muslim groups in Israel as secret as possible.
Following the money
Like any army, a terrorist group lives on its stomach, so money is needed to fund its terror projects – and Toameh, as it happens was the Shura Council's Chief Financial Officer. The Shabak knew that Iran had in recent months stopped funding Hamas, angry over its support of the Syrian rebellion, but according to Toameh, Hamas has plenty of other money sources.
Among them is an investment forum, built and managed by Hamas terrorists, called the Palestinian Business Forum (PBF), which counts among its members top business people in the PA and several Arab countries.
Hamas raises money for “investment projects” from members of the PBF, Toameh said – and in addition, owns a great deal of valuable real estate in Saudi Arabia. And, he added, Hamas controls a number of “charities” which raise money for “Palestinian refugees” around the world.
Some of that Hamas real estate is in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, Toameh said. Several years ago, he personally transported 750,000 Saudi Riyals (almost $3 million) to Islamist groups in Israel under the cover of a mosque construction project in Tul Karem. The mosques were never built, but the cash was used for Hamas activities, he said.
In addition, Toameh said, one should not mistake Hamas' recent reconciliation with Fatah as a softening of its political position; Hamas' goal of replacing Israel with an Arab, Muslim sharia-based state has not changed.
However, he said in recent years the terror group has decided that it could have more influence on the political process in the PA by joining with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the internationally recognized representative of the "Palestinian people," which has never renounced terror.