U.S. Funneled Nearly $1 Million to Hamas-Linked Charity That Hosted Terror Leader’s Son, Report Says

L:USAID Administrator Samantha Power (Alex Wong/Getty Images) R: Hamas militants (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
April 9, 2024

The United States Agency for International Development funneled nearly $1 million "to a terror charity in Gaza involved with the son of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh," according to a report.

USAID gave more than $900,000 in taxpayer funds to the Bayader Association for Environment and Development, a humanitarian group based in the Gaza Strip that is said to be "in close cooperation with [the] Hamas regime," according to a report by the Middle East Forum’s Focus on Western Islamism project. The United States awarded the most recent grant on Oct. 1, six days before Hamas launched a terror attack on Israel.

"Bayader is listed in federal spending data as a sub-grantee for USAID, with the government monies first routed through a sponsoring U.S. nonprofit, which are ostensibly required to vet their sub-grantees," according to the report. In February 2023, Bayader reportedly organized an event in the Gaza Strip that included "senior Hamas officials," such as Abdul Salam Haniyeh, the son of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The Middle East Forum’s findings are certain to increase pressure on the Biden administration as it works to pump humanitarian aid into the war-torn Gaza Strip, where humanitarian groups linked to Hamas are operating. This includes the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a recipient of U.S. aid that is now known to employ individuals who participated in Hamas’s attack. Israel estimates that around 10 percent of UNRWA’s workforce maintains ties to the Iran-backed terror group.

USAID did not immediately respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment. The aid agency has come under Republican pressure in Congress for awarding taxpayer funds to groups with alleged ties to terrorism. USAID’s inspector general is reportedly investigating claims that at least $110,000 in funds were sent to a charity tied to Pakistani militant groups.

During the February 2023 event cited in the report, "Bayader staff embraced senior Hamas officials, who were there to launch Bayader’s latest project."

USAID also has "praised Bayader’s work on its own social media, and USAID officials appeared to visit Bayader’s offices, where one senior USAID official, Jonathan Kamin, received an award from the terror-linked charity," the Middle East Forum found.

The charity operates "in close cooperation with Hamas regime," according to its own Arabic language 2021 annual report translated by the Middle East Forum. The report also cited "coordination" and "meetings" with Hamas’s ministry of social affairs and ministry of agriculture.

"Bayader officials," the report says, "are also regularly seen in the company of other Hamas terror politicians." And the charity’s employees have praised known terrorists on social media, according to the report.

The charity receives funding from the United Kingdom, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, and the United Nations.

Sam Westrop, director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch project and the report’s lead author, said USAID could have discovered Bayader’s links to Hamas by performing "the most cursory of searches."

"The most cursory of searches would have uncovered Bayader’s Hamas links and its officials’ open support for terror. Surely someone is deliberately looking the other way," Westrop told the Free Beacon. "Charitable revenue is a major contributor to Hamas’s income, estimated to be at least half a billion dollars each year."

"How is it, a decade after then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan made it clear that when you help terrorists build homes, you are helping terrorists build bombs, the federal government is still helping terrorists build homes?" Westrop said.