Oct 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

First look: Top Biden official heads to Europe in push to cut off Hamas funding

Adeyemo during a news conference at the Department of Justice on Jan. 18. Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is heading to Europe this week to collaborate with officials in London, Brussels and Berlin on how to degrade and deny Hamas' ability to raise money, according to U.S. officials.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is bracing for a protracted conflict between Israel and Hamas — with deep concerns about the war expanding to Israel's northern border — and wants to prevent Hamas from buying arms and ammunition for its terrorist operations.

Driving the news: Last week, the Treasury Department issued fresh sanctions on Hamas individuals and entities, including a crypto exchange and operatives who run the group's secret investment portfolio.

  • But officials have always been clear that the U.S. will need to coordinate its efforts with allies in Europe and the Middle East — as well as financial institutions.
  • Brian Nelson, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is currently in Saudi Arabia to work with Middle East partners on how to restrict Hamas's fundraising. He's scheduled to be in Qatar on Wednesday.

What to watch: Adeyemo — a key player in both the public and private pressure campaign on Hamas's financing — will give a major speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Friday morning.

  • The goal is to explain the administration's efforts to deny Hamas and Russia's access to illicit funds.
  • Last week, Adeyemo told Democrat lawmakers behind closed-doors that the U.S. and Qatar had reached an informal agreement that Iran would not be able to access a $6 billion account in Qatar.

The big picture: The Biden administration is deeply involved in the war in Gaza, sending a three-star Marine general to advise the Israeli military on its coming ground operation, Axios reported Monday.

  • U.S. officials are urging Israel's coalition government to delay the ground invasion to get more aid into Gaza and get more hostages out.
  • On Monday, Biden said the time wasn't right for a ceasefire. "We should have those hostages released, and then we can talk," he told reporters.
  • The State Department warned Monday that it's concerned about the conflict expanding to Israel's northern border with Lebanon.
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