Hamas is smuggling as much as $20 million into the Gaza Strip each month, a U.S. lawmaker said.
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said in a Ha’aretz interview published Tuesday that monthly cash smuggling across the Gaza-Egypt border “provides somewhere between $12 million and $20 million to the economy of a rogue government that staged a coup against the wishes of the Palestinian people.”
Ackerman accused Cairo of not cracking down.
“Egypt is not helping as much as it can,” he said. “It can certainly do a better job on that border.”
Under the threat of losing some of its U.S. funding, Egypt recently stepped up efforts to stop cash and arms reaching Gaza from Sinai. But the frontier remains largely porous.
The smuggling has undermined international efforts to isolate Hamas financially and thus bolster the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.