Egyptian security forces, said to be still smarting from the deaths of sixteen soldiers last year, have initiated a campaign to flood the estimated one hundred illegal tunnels, through which Hamas smuggles bulk cash and missile parts, amongst other things, under the Egyptian-Gaza frontier. The question arises: how will Hamas agents, who bulk cash smuggle US Dollars into their Palestinian Territory, now move cash into Gaza ?
Egypt has been diverting sewage water directly into the tunnels, forcing the small army of professional smugglers to beat a hasty retreat, and the government's campaign shows no sign of letting up, until the maze of tunnels that honeycomb the frontier are destroyed. Smugglers who attempt to reopen their prized tunnel have found that Egyptian forces will flood it again, as necessary, to shut down the illicit traffic.
Bankers may find this humourous, but rest assured, the supervisors of the bulk cash smugglers who provide illicit currency to Hamas, through these tunnels, will not be not amused. Moreover, they will be looking for alternative routes into Gaza. Therefore, be alert for any new or unusual activities, such as:
(1) Increased funding by NGOs, charities, or any other entity that operates inside Gaza.
(2) Increased requests for US Dollar notes inside Israel, for an unspecified purpose. Gaza has a long frontier with the State of Israel. Are there any weak points ?
(3) Increased dollar cash movement inside the West Bank. Bulk cash smugglers can be extremely imaginative under high-stress conditions. Are there any other novel ways to move currency into Gaza ?
(4) Increased wire transfers directly into banks with Gaza branches.
|Flooded smuggling tunnel|
The smugglers will find a way to bring the currency into Gaza; just make sure that it is not at your bank's expense, for Hamas is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) organisation, and you do not need to incur a very public OFAC fine, as well as become a target for terrorist financing, if you are not paying attention.