If you are a daily reader of the Treasury website, as you should be, you know that the United States has sanctioned a senior Hamas leader, specifically one who has overseen terrorist acts for many years, Salih Al-Aruri, the Hamas cell leader in Turkey. This individual is a career terrorist, who has a history of planning and executing attacks upon civilians; we properly refer to him as a monster, which he is. Other Hamas agents were also named, who happen to be some of its money launderers abroad.
Why now individually sanction them ? Hamas as an organization has been an SDGT for many years. True, they are from the military segment of Hamas, and are part of a radical fringe that desires permanent hostilities against Israel, without any chance of negotiating a political settlement, but to believe that this is an attempt, by the US, to divide Hamas, may be missing the point. Does Treasury have a different goal in 2015 ?
We note that Hamas has ordered its leaders and officers to avoid any international travel, and this may not be because of the recent arrests in Sinai, by Egypt, of Hamas agents. We tend to forget that Hamas leaders have all accumulated a substantial amount of wealth, from foreign donors with their own political agendas, from "taxes" they levied upon covert tunnel commerce into Gaza, and from monopolies awarded them upon specific type of business activities inside the territory. Most qualified analysts estimate at least 1700 Gazans (read that Hamas) are millionaires, complete with luxurious villas in Gaza, homes in Jordan and elsewhere, and, of course, bank accounts abroad.
Were these sanctions, entered against some of the world's worst active terrorist financiers, a prelude to seizing the liquid assets of their leaders ? We know that Switzerland has been a favorite depository for accounts of corrupt Palestinian leaders for decades; Yasir Arafat, and his spouse among them. You can expect that Hamas' leaders, whether they be career politicians living it up in Qatar, or military leaders hiding underground in Gaza, all have their stolen US Dollars in international financial centers, such as Lebanon, Cyprus and Switzerland, for ready access.
Perhaps, in the aftermath of the Arab Bank case, certain elements in the American law enforcement community plan to hit Hamas leaders in the pocketbook, through their bagmen and money launderers. Have some of the Swiss whistle blowers disclosed the location of terrorist bank accounts ? We cannot say, but we will be watching. Meanwhile, do you have photographs of the Hamas financiers sanctioned in your files ?