Even the most clandestine terror organizations remain vulnerable in one area: their wallets. Without funds, terrorist groups cannot recruit members, buy weapons, carry out training and criminal activities, or create civil infrastructure to garner popular support. Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center has succeeded in obstructing the free flow of funding to terrorist groups through legal action and civil lawsuits. Beginning in the 1990s, Western countries passed laws so victims of terror could sue regimes that sponsor terror, banks that transfer funds to terror groups, front organizations that pretend to serve charitable causes, and even the terrorists themselves. As a result, attorneys are key players in stopping the flow of funds to terror organizations and giving victims and their families a chance to fight back through the court system. Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center specializes in tracking the assets and bank accounts of the terror groups, legally obstructing and restraining their funds.
WHAT TERROR FUNDING ENABLES: CREATING TERRORISTS
A terror organization is fundamentally a business. Day-to-day, every terror group primarily works to raise, invest, allocate, and transfer money. Palestinian terror alone requires hundreds of millions of dollars of annual financing, according to documents recovered during operation “Defensive Shield” in 2002.
Suicide bombers aren’t crazy; they’re conditioned and terror funding enables that conditioning. It begins in elementary school, where he was taught to idolize the shaheed, a martyr who kills as many civilians as possible on the road to Heaven.
Terror funded youth programs, sports camps, and health clinics convince him that terrorists are really working for him. PR efforts (like posters and trading cards) promote past suicide bombers as heroes. Payments to the families of martyrs’ can make suicide bombing the financially prudent choice. Every stage of this indoctrination requires vast resources.
Finally, filled with visions of martyrdom from his childhood, he is offered the chance of a lifetime: become a shaheed and solve his family’s financial woes forever. An explosive vest or car bomb alone is inexpensive. But the creation of suicide bombers and Jihadis is a long and expensive process – that is why stopping funds is critical to the fight against terrorism.
IMPORTANCE OF THE CIVIL WAR ON TERROR
In short: if you stop the flow of money, you can stop terrorism. Entrenched avenues of terror financing are being disrupted and rendered ineffective, in large part due to lawsuits filed by Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center.
Over the last decade, courts have handed down judgments against state sponsors of terrorism like Iran and North Korea. Big banks like Lloyds and Barclays have shut down suspicious charities’ accounts because of exposure to criminal and civil liability for aiding and abetting terrorist organizations.
Terror sponsors like Iran have pulled billions of dollars out of the US and Europe. Today, it is more difficult for them to locate Western banks willing to convert their money into dollars and euros that terrorists use to build bases and buy weapons. Without access to financial institutions, terrorists have resorted to riskier methods of transferring ever smaller sums of cash, such as in suitcases or through underground tunnels. Shurat HaDin’s successful disruption of funding channels means less global terror in both the short and long term.