TerrorismGerman police raids Hamas-linked charities

Published 10 April 2019

The German police have staged raids across Germany, targeting charities which provide support to the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. The United States, Israel, and the EU regard Hamas a terrorist organization.

German police raids disrupt Hamas fundraising // Source: armyupress.army.mil

The German police on Wednesday carried out raids across the country targeting charities suspected of providing “financial and propaganda” support to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Around ninety properties in ten states were searched, with the focus of the raids targeting the charities WWR Help and Ansaar International in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Whoever supports Hamas under the mantle of providing humanitarian aid disregards the fundamental values of our constitution,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. “This also discredits the commitment of the many aid organizations that have committed themselves to neutrality under difficult circumstances.”

Hamas, an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, took control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007. In February 2007, Hamas won the election to the Palestinian parliament, but the ruling PLO-affiliated Fatah refused to recognize the election results. In response, Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip violently expelled the PLO from the Gaza Strip, and took control of the territory.

The United States, Israel, and the EU regard Hamas a terrorist organization. Turkey and Qatar are regarded as Hamas supporters.

The Middle East Monitor reports that the Dusseldorf-based charity Ansaar International, founded in 2012, describes itself as an aid organization carrying out projects “for the good of Allah.” It claims to have 600 members in Germany and around 2,000 around the globe. 

According the organization, it provides health services, water and sanitation, orphanages and education to the needy in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Americas.

In Gaza, the organization says it provides emergency food aid, water, electricity, and schooling.

WWR Help says it provides humanitarian services in Gaza and collects donations for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The raids in Germany come as the Gaza Strip suffers from a mounting humanitarian crisis marked by electricity shortages, water scarcity, and the deterioration of critical health, sanitation, and transportation services.

The crisis is in part caused by three wars between Hamas and Israel since 2008 and an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza.

Hamas, for its part, has diverted much of the aid funds contributed by foreign governments, international agencies, and NGOs to producing rockets and munitions, and digging tunnels to allow incursions into Israel.

The tensions between the Gaza-based Hama  and the West Bank-based PLO also contributed to the deterioration of conditions in Gaza, as the PLO regularly stops funds from being delivered to Gaza to pay the salaries of government employees there.

Since May 2018, Palestinians have carried out daily mass protests along the border fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers often use live fire to disperse these protests – especially when protesters are trying to breach the fence. So far, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 9,000 injured in these weekly marches.