Sami Abu Zuhri is a senior spokesman for the Palestinian political party Hamas. Zuhri, a relatively unknown member of Hamas, gained notoriety on May 19, 2006, when Palestinian security and customs officials discovered he had 640,000 euros on his person; another report claimed he held a larger sum of 900,000 euros, and confiscated it, after Zuhri dropped a concealed money belt at a routine border crossing from Egypt to Gaza. The news brought competing Hamas and Fatah paramilitary forces to the crossing checkpoint, which Zuhri refused to leave without the banknotes, which had been confiscated as contraband. Abu Zuhri told a reporter from the Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera that the money had been donated privately by individuals he met during a tour of Arab nations.
The European monitors, who took up the station when Israel pulled out of Gaza, are charged with checking for contraband, which sometimes includes weapons and food. Julio De La Guardia, a spokesman for the European Union contingent that monitors the passage, said travelers crossing through Rafah must declare all sums over $2,000.
Abu Zuhri stated his objection to the inclusion of what he referred to as the "so-called Holocaust" in the proposed UNRWA lesson plan for students in Gaza. He continued "we think it's more important to teach Palestinians the crimes of the Israeli occupation."