EU Joins US in ‘Freezing Hamas Funds’ – What It Means

Hamas leader Yahia Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Nurah Tape – The Palestine Chronicle  

Though Hamas says that its top leaders in Gaza have no financial interests in Europe, or even bank accounts anywhere else, the EU still joined the US in imposing sanctions on them.

The European Union (EU) has joined the United Kingdom and the United States in imposing sanctions on leaders of the Resistance Movement Hamas. 

In a press release on Tuesday, the Council of the EU announced that it had added Yahya Sinwar, the political leader of Hamas, to the EU ‘terrorist list’, effective immediately.

This decision comes as part of the EU’s response “to the threat posed by Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel on 7 October 2023,” the statement said.

Following his listing, Sinwar “is subject to the freezing of his funds and other financial assets in EU member states. It is also prohibited for EU operators to make funds and economic resources available to him,” the statement added. 

The decision renders Sinwar liable to an asset freeze in the 27-nation bloc and prohibits EU citizens from conducting any financial dealings with him. 

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Sinwar is the third senior Hamas leader to be personally sanctioned by the EU, since the movement’s October 7 military operation.

On December 8, EU member states also listed Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa, senior commanders of the Hamas’ military wing, the Izzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, as terrorists.

In addition to the EU, Hamas as an organization is designated a ‘terrorist group’ by several countries, including the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

UK Round of Sanctions

On November 14, the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office announced sanctions against four senior Hamas leaders, including Sinwar and Deif, and “two Hamas financiers.”

The other Hamas leaders targeted were Marwan Issa, a senior Hamas official and deputy commander of the Qassam Brigades; and Musa Dudin, a West-Bank based Hamas official.

The “financiers” mentioned were based in Sudan and Lebanon, according to the statement by the Foreign Office. 

The statement said: “All those sanctioned by the UK and US were targeted for their leadership or financing roles in the group, which was originally founded in the late 1980s with a commitment to destroy Israel.”

“These designations add to existing UK sanctions against Hamas, including on the organization itself,” the statement added. 

On December 13, the Foreign Office sanctioned a further seven individuals linked to Hamas.

A press release stated that they were sanctioned “to counter the ongoing threat posed by the terror organization, cut off its access to finances and impose fresh travel restrictions on individuals linked to the group to disrupt its operations.”

The members listed by the UK included: Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas’ co-founder; Ali Baraka, Hamas’ Head of External Relations; and Maher Obeid, whom it said has held senior positions in Hamas.

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The sanctions also targeted individuals that the UK government claimed has financed Hamas, including individuals in Lebanon and Algeria.

The UK government also sanctioned Akram Al-Ajouri, the Syria-based Deputy Secretary General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and leader of the Al-Quds Brigades, the PIJ’s military wing, it said in the statement. 

“These stringent measures show that individuals linked to Hamas will not be able to escape accountability, even if they are operating from outside of Gaza,” the statement said.

David Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, stated that “Hamas can have no future in Gaza. Today’s sanctions on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will continue to cut off their access to funding and isolate them further.”

US Round of Sanctions

Also in December, the US imposed an additional round of sanctions on individuals in Turkiye and elsewhere that it said was linked to Hamas.

In a statement, the US Treasury Department reportedly said “sanctions target eight officials who advance Hamas’ agenda and interests abroad and help manage its finances.”

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According to a Reuters report, the Treasury said that several of the Hamas officials targeted were based in Turkiye, including one of the group’s key financial operatives there, Haroun Mansour Yaqoub Nasser Al-Din.

It was the fourth round of US sanctions on Hamas following the October 7 operation.  

Further EU Sanctions Planned 

The EU is set to announce new sanctions on Hamas on Monday, according to a report by POLITICO, citing three EU diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity. These measures, to be announced by EU foreign ministers, are separate from the announcement made about Sinwar.  

One of the diplomats said a new set of sanctions was necessary to hit Hamas’ financing, reports POLITICO. The sanctions were set to hit not only the financing sources of Hamas, but target several individuals linked to the group, the report adds. 

It also stated that the US and Israel put pressure on European leaders to follow their lead in imposing sanctions on key Hamas members as well as a number of “financial facilitators” in countries such as Sudan, Turkiye, Algeria and Qatar. 

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The report further said that EU countries who are more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause advocated imposing sanctions on Israeli settlers in the West Bank, an idea also proposed in December by the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrel.

However, two of the officials said it was too politically sensitive to agree on both measures in parallel. Rather, to work in phases.

The US announced visa bans for extremist settlers in December, according to POLITICO. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Nurah Tape is a South Africa-based journalist. She is an editor with The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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1 Comment

  1. It’s public information that Biden armed Palestine in September 2023, then suddenly in October 2023, Hamas is the bad guy? this has been one of the longest running proxy wars we’ve seen. America has armed and financed ” Israel ” since at least 1985. at least 3 BILLION a year.
    For almost 40 years! It’s also public info that the West controls everything, including politics in the illegal state of ” Israel ” .

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