Hamas Financial Management
As the final instalment in our series on Hamas, we’re looking at how the organization manages its money. Hamas has a multifaceted governance structure that includes political, military, and social branches. Several leaders assume financial responsibilities within this structure, while numerous external financiers also play a crucial role in facilitating the group’s financial flows. Much like any other organization, however, Hamas has not been immune to issues of financial mismanagement — including instances of corruption and theft. Examining fund management is important because it offers critical insights into the operations and sustainability of Hamas. Furthermore, many of the group’s leaders and financiers have been sanctioned, shedding light on the international community’s disruption techniques and the organization’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
If you haven't read the rest of our series on Hamas, check out the following articles:
Governance Structure & Key Figures
As outlined by the Council on Foreign Relations’ infographic below, Hamas has a governance structure that includes an overarching politburo, regional offices, and several operational cells. While general policy is set by the politburo, local committees manage issues and grassroots initiatives in Gaza and the West Bank. This means that financial management is decentralized, with the overarching leadership making general or strategic financing decisions -- such as the amount of funds available to each of the Hamas sections. Unit heads, such as the commander of the military brigade, then likely manage a more detailed budget for their specific directorate’s activities.
Within this structure, several leaders are particularly important. Ismail Haniyeh was elected the head of Hamas’s politburo in 2017 and has been based in Qatar for the past several years. The leader of Hamas within the Gaza Strip is Yahya Sinwar. Sinwar founded and manages internal security matters, which investigates suspected Israeli intelligence and security agents. Finally, Mohammed Deif leads the military arm of the organization, which receives a significant amount of Hamas’s funds.