Annual turnover: $1 billion
Region: West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Main funding sources: taxes and fees, financial aid and donations (especially Qatar).
Purpose: militant struggle against the state of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River
Hamas’s militant coup and its taking over of the Gaza strip, back in 2007, ushered this organization into the big league.
In less than a decade, Hamas managed to turn the organization – which used to rely on donations from countries and charities – to a huge conglomerate. About 15% of Gaza’s economy ends up in this organizations pocket, through taxes and levies on goods and consumer goods entering the Gaza Strip, such as cigarettes and gasoline, and licensing fees for cars, motorcycles and even carts. Taxes that once went to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah now go to Hamas.
Contrary to common belief, Hamas does not make money from the smuggling tunnels underneath the Egyptian border. Those were dried out quite effectively by the army of Egypt’s General al-Sisi. The donations from Qatar and Iran are also as not as significant as they used to be. Hamas makes most of it money from a sophisticated tax system, aimed at, among other things, pocketing large portions of the international aid that flows into Gaza. For example, Hamas taxes money changers that convert foreign currency to shekels, and gains tens of millions by doing so.
In addition, Hamas runs hundreds of businesses which control a variety of areas – from real estate, insurance, banking, hotels and tourism, to fish farms and banquet halls. Conducting its business, Hamas uses various Mafia methods to maximize its income. For example, after purchasing a banquet hall – a lucrative business in Gaza – a string of miss-fortunes befell Hamas’s competition. Hamas also took over several banks, and everyone that wishes to do business with the government in Gaza need to certify they are working with the right bank
Hamas’s total income from taxes, fees and duties, and from the businesses it runs – both directly and through straw men – is estimated at half a billion dollars. Hamas also enjoys private donations from businesses and organizations all over the world. Hamas’s principal backer in recent years is Qatar, which donates hundreds of millions of dollars to the organization annually.