While the Gazans are often depicted as suffering from harsh economic conditions, the sons of the senior Hamas leaders lead a life of luxury.
By: Baruch Yedid
The people of the Gaza Strip are often portrayed in the international media as suffering from extremely severe economic distress, but while Gazans contend with unemployment and poor civil services, the “Princes of Hamas,” the sons of the senior Hamas leaders, lead a life of lavishness and splendor.
Recently, they have also been involved in several affairs that have stirred and excited public opinion in the Gaza Strip and the Arab world.
Earlier this year, Annas Radwan, son of senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan, went to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage but took advantage of his status to enter the limited list of pilgrims and used 5,000 dinars in special grant funds taken from the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization).
His photo on a bus in Saudi Arabia alongside the pilgrims was circulated on social networks and caused much anger in Gaza and throughout the Arab world. He was accused of taking advantage of the grant money and the right to go to Mecca at the expense of Gazans, who cannot afford the travel expenses.
Saudi Arabia grants annual quotas to various countries, including residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, but many do not receive the desired permit to go to Mecca. Anas Radwan was arrested in Saudi Arabia for several hours when it became clear that he had joined the list of eligible pilgrims.
The embarrassing incident prompted Hamas to establish an investigative committee, which recommended fining Radwan 5000 dinars, as prescribed by Shari’a law. Radwan, one of the most famous “Hamas princes,” did not apologize and attacked Hamas’ conclusions because he was tried by a “field tribune.”
The father, Ismail Radwan, goes to Mecca every year for free, at the expense of the quota allocated to Gaza’s residents. His photos on planes have been distributed over the years on social networks.
Gaza sources told TPS that the great embarrassment to Hamas comes as it is trying to suppress the protests that already erupted in the Gaza Strip months ago over the dire living conditions.
Muhammad Hamad, the son of senior Hamas official Fatahi Hamad is also considered a “prince” in the Gaza Strip.
The younger Hamad recently celebrated his 20th birthday, and videos circulated on social networks showed a lavish and huge party held in a Gazan hall, with tables laden with food and cakes. Hamad celebrated with his friends, all dressed in fine clothes while several musical bands entertained the celebrants, who even danced the traditional Dabke. A special tent was erected for the event.
The clips of the celebration provoked a storm in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza social networks slammed the party, writing that “Hamad is not ashamed of demonstrating his wealth, while more than 200 Palestinian injured, including some who have lost limbs, and only some of whom have wheelchairs, receive no support.”
Hamas ‘outdoes’ Fatah
Abdel Salam Haniya, son of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, is the chairman of the Amoaj Sports Council in the Gaza Strip and a member of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport. Social networks are replete with allegations that he exploits his role in football clubs and his father’s ties to steal the Palestinian people’s money. His relationship with Qatar, which will host the World Cup in 2022, has raised many questions.
Abdel Salam recently sparked some “scandals.” Photos from his tours of Western Europe, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf were circulated on networks, some even by him. Among other things, he was photographed with the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in the background while he traveled on a luxurious yacht.