Watan-The Hebrew newspaper “Maariv” reported that occupation soldiers seized hundreds of millions of shekels from the Palestinian Bank in Gaza, intended for the Palestinian Authority, estimated at 200 million shekels ($54.3 million).
This comes amid Israeli soldiers’ involvement in systematic theft of Palestinian money and belongings, including gold, financial sums, mobile phones, and laptops.
The Israeli newspaper, citing officers in the occupying army, reported that soldiers operating in the heart of Gaza in the Al-Rimal neighborhood seized hundreds of millions of shekels. “Sar Belsner,” an editor of a program on 103FM radio, revealed this on Sunday morning.
Officials in the Israeli occupation army alleged to the newspaper that the seizure operation occurred after soldiers came under sniper fire near the bank. The force then reached and stormed the bank.
The source mentioned that Israeli army forces looted money from the bank’s vaults, with soldiers themselves loading it onto “Brinks” vehicles for transportation.
In response to the information, a statement from the Israeli occupation army claimed that the military operation at the Palestinian Bank aimed to prevent the seizure of funds by Hamas and their use for “terrorist” purposes, as they claimed.
The Israeli occupation army alleged in its statement that “the activity was carried out according to the directives of the political leaders, and the method of retaining the money and its destination is subject to their instructions.”
Palestinian media reported on January 7th that the Israeli army had stolen money and gold jewelry from the Gaza Strip, estimated at about $25 million, since October 7th last year.
The theft operations occurred in several ways, including at checkpoints like Salah al-Din Street, where they stole from those displaced from northern Gaza to the south, taking their bags containing valuable possessions such as money, gold, and jewelry.
On December 30th last year, the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights stated that the Israeli army allows its soldiers in Gaza to engage in “unethical practices” against Palestinian civilians during house raids, including theft and looting of their belongings.
The Observatory documented in a report a series of cases revealing the involvement of Israeli soldiers in systematic theft of Palestinian money and belongings, including gold, financial sums, mobile phones, and laptops, estimating the value of the stolen goods at tens of millions of dollars.
According to activists, the Palestinian Bank building was established in Gaza City in 1960. This building was constructed in one of the city’s main neighborhoods, Al-Rimal, and its largest street, Omar Al-Mukhtar Street.
The building consists of two underground floors, a ground floor, and thirteen upper floors, with its northern facade overlooking the Unknown Soldier Square and the first Palestinian Legislative Council. Both the soldier and the council were destroyed.
The Palestinian Bank contributed to supporting humanitarian and relief projects, benefiting about 1.2 million displaced people in shelters since the start of the war on Gaza. This support included food and health parcels, hot meals, other aids, and psychological support programs, with the value of these contributions reaching approximately one million US dollars.