January 17, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10425

Saudi News Website: Hamas Leader Isma'il Haniya's Sons Are Corrupt, Have Extravagant And Hedonistic Lifestyles

January 17, 2023
Saudi Arabia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10425

On December 30, 2022, the Saudi news website reported, citing a "knowledgeable Palestinian source," that Ma'az Haniya, the son of Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya, recently obtained a Turkish passport, which allows him to easily exit Gaza and travel abroad, where he lives in luxury and manages the family's real estate. The website claims that, since Haniya became head of Hamas' political bureau, his family has been living extravagantly and purchasing extensive real estate in Gaza and abroad. It claims further that Haniya's sons drink alcohol abroad and spend time in luxury nightclubs with women other than their wives.       

This is not the first time the Arab media has reported about the extravagant lifestyle and the corruption of Hamas leaders and their families, reports that have sparked anger among Gazan Palestinians.  The criticism increased as the situation in Gaza deteriorated and as more and more of the leaders' family members left the Gaza Strip to settle abroad. In late July 2022, for example, it was reported that several of Haniya's family members had been allowed to leave the Strip through the Rafah crossing and join other members of the family who had settled in Turkey. In response, Gazan activists launched a social media campaign accusing the Hamas leadership of corruption.[1] Isma'il Haniya himself has been living abroad since 2019, dividing his time between Turkey and Qatar.[2]

In November 2021, it was circulated on social media that the son of another Hamas leader, Ghazi Hamad, had given his brother a honeymoon in Sinai as a wedding present. Many Gazans saw this a reflection of the leadership's insensitivity to the harsh reality in the Gaza Strip. In December 2021, a Gazan journalist published an article slamming Hamas leaders for making frequent trips abroad and investing their money there, while simple Gazans are struggling to make a living and are suffering under the yoke of Hamas' failing administration. [3]

Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya and his sons (image:, August 12, 2019)

This report reviews the reports about the corruption and extravagant lifestyle of the Haniya family, and the criticism it evoked in the Gaza Strip.

Report On Saudi Website: Haniya's Sons Control The Spheres of Real Estate, Sports In Gaza; The Haniya Family Has Grown Rich Thanks To His Position

The December 30, 2022 article in the Saudi news website stated: "The sons of Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya continue to live extravagantly and to hold real estate in Gaza and abroad. A knowledgeable Palestinian source told Elaph that, several days ago, Ma'az Isma'il Haniya managed to obtain a Turkish passport in order to make it easier for himself and his family to travel around the world and continue to live extravagantly, while the people in Gaza continue to live under the Israeli siege and under the [yoke of] Hamas, which suppresses their personal freedom, especially their freedom of movement and travel. Hamas' apparatuses monitor everyone who leaves [the Strip] for medical, business or other purposes, so as to interrogate them and sometimes even take some of their money…

"Ma'az Isma'il Haniya travels between Gaza and Turkey on a Turkish passport, [which he received] for free, just because his father is Isma'il Haniya… He invests in Turkish real estate, after in Gaza he has already become known as Abu Al-'Iqarat ["The Landlord"] for owning multiple apartments, villas and buildings in different parts [of the Strip]. It is a well-known fact that Isma'il Haniya's family was never so wealthy before he became the head of Hamas' political bureau…

"Isma'il Haniya's sons control the real estate market and the sphere of sports in Gaza… They also own generators, and sell Gazans electricity while they themselves get it for free. In Gaza there is talk that Isma'il Haniya's sons drink alcohol abroad and spend their nights in the best nightclubs, with women who are not their wives."[4]   

July 2022: Social Media Criticism Against Haniya's Family For Moving Abroad

As mentioned, there has already been public criticism against Haniya's sons and family for leaving Gaza and settling in Turkey and Qatar. In late July 2022, for instance, it was reported that Haniya's son Hazem, along with his wife and two children, as well as the daughter of Haniya's son 'Abd Al-Salam, had been granted permission to leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing and join other members of the Haniya family who live in Turkey. This sparked a social media campaign against the Hamas leadership, titled "Our Hands Are Clean." The name is an allusion to a speech given by Haniya in 2009, on the 22nd anniversary of Hamas' founding, in which he said: "Our hands are clean. We do not steal funds, hold real estate or build villas…"[5]

As part of the online campaign against Hamas' corruption, user Mahmoud Nashwan posted a picture of himself holding up a black-gloved hand, sarcastically captioned "Our hands are clean" (, July 18, 2022)

Some Palestinians shared an official document – a list of travelers who had been given permission to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing, including several of Haniya's family members – and accused the Hamas leadership of hypocrisy. For example, Jamila 'Abed tweeted: "The families of the leaders, their children, grandchildren and [other] descendants, do not believe in their enterprise. Although they can lead wealthy lives in Gaza, they choose to leave it for hotels and villas in Doha and Istanbul. [The leaders] and their families do not believe in this enterprise, yet they leave the hungry Gazans hostage to it, [suffering] under the burden of poverty, want and starvation."[6]  

User Muhammad Majed tweeted in a similar vein: "…If your own children do not believe in your enterprise, how do you expect the simple folk to believe in it?... Do you expect them to believe in it when they see all your offspring living abroad like kings? How do you expect them to believe in it when they and their children are drowning in the sea… trying to find a [better] life [abroad], whereas your children have private businesses and real estate investments [abroad]? The boat you want the people [of Gaza] to sail in is the boat of poverty, hunger, want, ignorance and lack of patriotism."[7]  

Jamila 'Abed and Muhammad Majed's tweets

Similar criticism was voiced even before the launch of the "Our Hands Are Clean" campaign. On March 16, 2019, for example, a Gazan tweeted: "Gaza is under siege, with one exception: 'Abd Al-Salam Isma'il Haniya, the son of our dear leader. He has circumvented the globe, collecting and stealing money in the name of the Palestinian people!!!!! #WeWantToLive." The message was posted with pictures of 'Abd Al-Salam Haniya in different parts of the world, including one with his father. [8]

Reports On Real Estate Owned By Haniya Family

The media also reported on real estate owned by the Haniya family. In a January 4, 2023 report on the Egyptian Al-Omah website, Palestinian journalist Lara Ahmad wrote: "Who are the sons of Isma'il Haniya, and what do they own? His sons Humam and Ma'az own several apartments in the Al-Zaharna Building [in Gaza], with a [total] area of 650 [square] meters… They also have a private generator, installed on a 1,000 sqm lot in front of this building, to ensure that their apartments will always have light when the other apartments and nearby buildings are in darkness… A third son, Muhammad, has Turkish citizenship, which he obtained without the slightest effort. He frequently travels to Istanbul on vacation and to monitor the family's funds abroad. If the family ever has to flee Gaza, he will be their lifeline. The fourth son, Wisam, owns a five-story building in Al-Shanti [in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza]… and the fifth, Captain 'Abd Al-Salam [Haniya], is the 'king of sports,' as he is called in Gaza. He owns apartments he was given for free in Madinat Hamad [a Qatari housing project in Khan Younis], and a villa near the Palestine Stadium [in Gaza], in which he lives. He controls the sphere of Palestinian sports in Gaza, and periodically brings over funds from abroad, especially from Qatar and Turkey, which he invests in his private companies and in the [sports] clubs he cultivates.  

"Isma'il Haniya's own assets, which are registered under the names of his associates and of the sons of his two sisters, include: partial [ownership] of the Al-Malash towers… in Gaza; four apartments in the Tabarak [Allah] Building… two apartments in [Gaza's] Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood… a lot in Gaza's Al-Sudaniya area; a 'summer house' in the Al-Sawahira area in the Al-Nusairat [refugee camp]; his first home, in the Al-Shati [refugee] camp, which was his only home until 2007 [the year Hamas took over the Gaza strip]; a penthouse behind the Al-Sousi tower… an electric and electronic appliances company… jewelry shops and vacation homes [owned] jointly with a man called Abu Al-Qassem Qassem, and a cement and stone-crushing factory, co-owned with the Al-Tibi and Enwaja families. 

"This rapid and surprising amassing of wealth by the Haniyas created problems for Hamas, and many questions were asked about how they came to own all this real estate… when the people of Gaza have been suffering from degrading poverty since the movement came to power, and this includes [even] members [of Hamas], both its civil servants and its activists."[9]

According to a 2021 investigative report that appeared in the London-based, Saudi weekly Al-Majalla, Isma'il Haniya's personal wealth is estimated at no less than $4 million, for in 2010 he purchased a plot of land for this amount in the Al-Shati refugee camp. Haniya has registered most of his assets under the names of his relatives, who own land in various parts of the Gaza Strip. The report states that the rapid and surprising accumulation of wealth attributed to Isma'il Haniya – who was not a prominent member of the Hamas leadership before the 2006 elections to the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority (PA), following which he was appointed prime minister of the PA – was effected by means of "mafia" tactics, as Haniya and the ministers in his government took control of the economy of the Gaza Strip and began to impose private taxes on goods that were smuggled in from Egypt via tunnels. The report included a claim by senior PA official Ahmad 'Assaf, who said in this context, in 2014, that the tunnel smuggling market had transformed 1,700 senior Hamas officials into millionaires.[10]


[1], July 23, 2022.

[2] In February 2020 it was reported that Haniya had decided to settle in Qatar, and several months later it was also reported that arrangements were being made for his family to join him there. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 2, 2020; August 5, 2020.

[4], December 30, 2022.

[5], December 14, 2009; profile.php?id=100006551227289, August 9, 2022;, August 10, 2022.

[6], July 18, 2022.

[7], July 18, 2022.

[8], March 16, 2019.

[9], January 4, 2023; similar information is found on other websites, such as, April 19, 2021.

[10], September 11, 2021;, April 7, 2014. For more about the Hamas smuggling tunnels, most of which were closed in the framework of the improvement in relations between Hamas and Egypt in 2017, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6877, On Backdrop Of Egyptian Efforts To Fight Hamas Tunnels, Egyptian Writer Calls To Tie Rapprochement With Hamas To Demolition Of Tunnels, April 17, 2017; and MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 936, To Hamas's Chagrin, Egypt Increases Anti-Tunnel Activity On Gaza Border, February 20, 2013.

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