Israeli Authorities Freeze Binance Accounts Allegedly Linked to Hamas

In the midst of escalating tensions between Hamas militants in Gaza and Israel, the Israeli authorities have taken a significant step by ordering the freezing of cryptocurrency accounts associated with the Palestinian Islamist organization. According to local news outlet Calcalist, Israeli law enforcement recently issued orders to suspend cryptocurrency accounts linked to Hamas.

The ongoing conflict between Hamas, a Gaza-based Islamic movement, and Israel has captured the attention of international media. Following a rocket attack on southern Israel on October 7th, the historically fraught relationship between Israel and Hamas has led to a fierce retaliation in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Defense Minister has gone so far as to declare the cutting off of electricity, food, and fuel supplies to over 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza. As of October 10th, the clashes have resulted in the tragic loss of over 1,500 lives on both sides, including both Israeli and Palestinian casualties.

Furthermore, Israel’s law enforcement agency, Lahav 433, has coordinated efforts with the Ministry of Defense, intelligence agencies, and the cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance to scrutinize and block accounts associated with Hamas. Authorities have indicated that any seized funds will be directed into the national treasury.

Cryptocurrency has become a popular fundraising avenue, not only for Israeli citizens but also for residents of Gaza. Since the outbreak of hostilities, several Arab charitable organizations have publicly shared cryptocurrency wallet addresses on social media platforms to solicit donations for Gaza’s inhabitants. This is the key factor driving Israel’s government to investigate the relationship between these cryptocurrency addresses and Hamas.

In the past, the Hamas Islamist movement has solicited contributions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means to circumvent financial sanctions and isolation imposed by Israel. Conversely, the Israeli government has previously seized 190 Binance accounts linked to such groups dating back to 2021.

Looking back at the lawsuit filed by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, in March 2023, internal messages revealed that the exchange had facilitated transactions for various organizations on the U.S. terror watchlist, including Hamas. These revelations have raised concerns about Binance’s involvement with black-market platforms.

As the conflict between Hamas and Israel continues, the freezing of cryptocurrency accounts linked to the Palestinian organization represents another dimension of the ongoing tensions. The use of cryptocurrency in this conflict underscores the evolving nature of warfare and financial transactions in today’s world. It remains to be seen how these measures will impact the ongoing conflict and the broader cryptocurrency landscape.

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