Hamas will spend $897 million in Gaza in 2013 under a budget approved Monday. The Gaza parliament, dominated by Hamas, voted for the spending.
Gaza leaders estimate the income for the year at $243 million. The rest of the money is expected to come from international aid and donations.
Despite claims of a financial crisis, the Hamas budget has continued to grow from year to year. A large percent of this year’s budget — $244 million — will go to the Interior Ministry, which funds “security forces” such as the al-Kassam Battalions, recognized internationally as a terrorist group.
Many donations are not included in the budget. Qatar has pledged to spend $400 million on construction in the area, money that is not part of the official budget because Qatar will be overseeing the projects directly.
Also excluded as direct aid was money spent by the United Nations’ UNRWA agency, which assists PA resident Arabs and Arabs claiming descent from those who fled Israel during the War of Independence. The group is expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on programs in Gaza in 2013, including food distribution, summer camps, and schools.