The attack by Hamas on Israel has been all over the news. No matter which side of the conflict you are on, the results have been brutal, with thousands of lives lost on both sides.
Unfortunately, cryptocurrency has played a huge role in the recent conflict. Read on to learn more about the Hamas and Israel conflict and what cryptocurrency had to do with it.
The Israeli/Gaza Strip Conflict
The Israeli/Gaza Strip conflict has been going on for almost a thousand years. On one half of the conflict, you have the Israeli Jews who believe that Israel is the land promised to them by their God. On the other side of the conflict, you have the Gaza Strip Muslim community, which believes that Israel is a Holy Land (the third holiest spot after Mecca and Medina), and to them, the Jews using it is the ultimate middle finger.
Sadly, there is no way to appease either group, as the Jews believe they should have the right to live and pray in the land promised to them in the Old Testament, while the Muslims state that a Jew praying on their land is disrespectful to their Allah. Israel escalated the situation in the 1950s by making a directive (The Law of Return) that any practicing Jew would be allowed to return and live in Israel, no matter what country they had been born in. This led to more and more Jews colonizing Israel, which further angered Muslims living in the Gaza Strip.
While this conflict has been going on for centuries, it escalated in 1996 when other world powers began to take sides. The United States sided with Israel, while the Gaza Strip has Qatar, Sudan, North Korea, and Turkey backing them. If this weren’t complicated enough, the area is also home to several active jihadists who are supported by Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah.
During the side-taking, political problems began to ramp up, leading to several laws that prohibited inhabitants of the Gaza Strip from leaving. Additionally, Israel controls many of the aspects of everyday life in the Gaza Strip, and there have been frequent periods where utilities like power and water were denied to the Gaza Strip inhabitants. While these moves were meant to cripple the Gaza Strip militant forces, it led to the deaths of many civilians as well.
Over the past three decades, the conflict has become bloodier and bloodier, with massive amounts of causalities on both sides. This came to a head on October 7th, 2023, when the Hamas and Palestinians launched a large attack on Israel, killing over 1,000 people. Israel retaliated, calling all its reserve military to fight. As of the writing of this article, attacks perpetuated by both sides continue, with no end in sight.
How Crypto Was Involved
For decades, it has been difficult for those living in the Gaza Strip to access necessities, and with the border controls, there is no way to transport cash over the borders. Sometime during 2019,
Militant groups in Gaza began to collect funding via cryptocurrency, using apps like Telegram to receive payments from all over the world.
While the governments have taken action to freeze cryptocurrency wallets attached to major jihadists, it is very easy for them to open new wallets. It has been estimated that in the past two years, PIJ (Jihad Movement in Palestine) has received over $93 million or the equivalent in crypto, while Hamas has received over $43 million or the equivalent. Money which has been used to help fund the conflict, especially the recent attacks.
Even though the numbers aren’t known for sure, it is clear that both parties have received significant funding, and attacks and conflicts will likely continue in the near future in Israel and Gaza.
Is Crypto Bad?
Seeing that cryptocurrency can easily fund a terrorist organization can lead many people to think that they shouldn’t use crypto. While anonymous transactions that can surpass sanctions are possible with cryptocurrency, know that they are not the norm. There are many reputable people using cryptocurrency every day for normal purposes.
The government would like citizens to stop using cryptocurrency, of course because they prefer to know where their money is going. However, even if cryptocurrency didn’t exist, terrorist organizations like Hamas and PIJ would still manage to get funding. There are plenty of other ways to transfer currency that don’t involve cryptocurrency.
Related: Is Bitcoin Only Used for Crime?
How to Support Those Affected by the Conflict
As we mentioned above, this conflict is hurting a lot of civilians, and not all of them are Jews. There are children on both sides of the conflict, being raised in a war zone because of the politics governments can’t seem to set aside.
While it can be helpful to donate money to Israeli agencies, this won’t always ensure the money reaches both sides. It is instead recommended to donate to UN-endorsed agencies that are committed to helping all individuals caught in the middle of this conflict.
Below, we have compiled a list of a few agencies that the UN endorses:
· Alliance for Middle East Peace
It is important to remember that while there are many legitimate agencies that are collecting donations, there are also many which are scams. It is never advised to donate money to an agency you don’t recognize.
For safety and security purposes, we recommend only donating to the above agencies if you choose to donate at all.
In the meantime, you can also help by ignoring the propaganda put out by both sides. While it can be easy to be sad for a person you may know on one side of the conflict, this conflict is hurting thousands of people on both sides. It is better to remain politically uninvolved and ignore those asking you to take a stand in one way or the other.
Overall, we hope this has cleared the air when it comes to the Israeli/Gaza Strip conflict and that you now know the best way to help all those involved if you choose to do so.
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