Financing Terrorism

Changes in Palestinian Monetary Authority senior personnel, apparently in view of the Palestinian Authority’s plans to circumvent the problem of making payments to terrorists and the families of shaheeds

On January 1, 2021 an order given by the IDF Commander of the Central Command went into effect banning the banks in Judea and Samaria from providing banking services to Palestinian prisoners, released prisoners and the families of shaheeds receiving payments from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Following the order, the Bank of Palestine, the largest Palestinian bank, began closing accounts of prisoners and shaheed families. (Filastin al-A'an, January 5, 2021).

Financing Terrorism

A terrorist organization must have sources of financing to finance and carry out all of its activity and goals. Without financing sources, it will be difficult for the organization to exist and carry out its goals. Without financing, the organization will not be able to handle, support and equip its operatives, and prepare and maintain a reasonable infrastructure for its activity.

Terrorist financing can be divided into two main goals: financing a focused act of terrorism with a clear goal. In this case, the financing activity will be limited in scope, amount and time. The other type of goal is a broader goal of establishing, maintaining, and cultivating the terrorist infrastructure, organizational structure, purchasing, ongoing expenses, payment of salaries and more. In this case, the financing activity is not limited in time, ceiling or financial scope.

Most of the money for terrorism financing comes from terror-sponsoring countries, among which Iran is prominent (and is involved in the financing of terrorism carried out by Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Terrorist organizations have additional sources of financing, such as revenues from criminal activity (Hezbollah), the sale of oil products, and the collection of taxes from the population (ISIS). Other organizations finance terrorism with funds obtained from sources such as donations, charities, commercial profits, etc., which were diverted to terrorism financing.

In recent years there has been growing recognition of the importance of thwarting terrorist financing channels as part of the effort to thwart terrorist activity. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the international struggle against terror financing gained momentum, and it was decided to integrate the international struggle against terrorism into the struggle against terrorism financing and even to streamline it through legislation and counterterrorism activities. However, as the struggle against terrorism financing increases, the methods of terrorism financing become more sophisticated and diverse, making it more difficult to monitor the sources of terrorism financing and to cope with them.