Yair Lapid claimed that cutting funding to Hamas would hurt it more than most military operations now taking place (Reuters)
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article by former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in which he said that the best way to destroy the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and save lives is to attack its financial sources and stop the flow of money to it.
He said what he did when he was finance minister 10 years ago to "impede Hezbollah's revenues" is "more correct now with regard to Hamas," and said, "Anyone who wants to eliminate this organization must act against its sources of revenue. A large part of its money lies in banks. Or in the cryptocurrency market, and it's at hand."
Yair Lapid claimed that the organization could not buy weapons, train, build tunnels, pay salaries and finance its attacks without a regular cash flow.
He called on Israel to form an international coalition to take "measures against the sources of income of terrorist organizations. These funds are a driving force for terrorism, and we must, and can stop, them," he claimed.
According to a document released by the US Treasury Department after Oct. 7, Hamas's annual revenue is estimated at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, Lapid said, adding, "This is an exaggerated amount, but senior Hamas officials who live outside the Gaza Strip ... They are registered billionaires," he claimed.
He said that during the period in which he and Naftali Bennett headed the government, cash flows coming towards Gaza from a number of countries and organizations were stopped, while not much has been done at the moment - according to him - to harm Hamas economically, nor has pressure been put "on the Americans to apply the weapon of sanctions strongly."
He claimed that "companies affiliated with the Hamas investment network, which have been sanctioned for some time, are traded on the stock market." Hamas's bank accounts are allegedly still active.
"We have not used our cyber capabilities and we have not amassed the economic power of the Israeli business world. Of course, Israel must put an end to the transfer of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas in the Gaza Strip."
"Currently, none of this is happening. There is no coordinator responsible for this issue, and there is no cabinet member tasked with this task," he said, calling on Israel to establish a highly structured and effective financial task force to address the issue.
"We need to collect data, from ways to transfer money to Hamas to its global support network, which is choking off its financial resources," Lapid said.
Such a move would hurt Hamas more than most of the military operations taking place now, and at a much lower cost than blood.