According an Israeli newspaper report, the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah has decided to close all the Islamic charity organizations in the West Bank known as “zakat committees” in an effort to weaken Hamas:
In a move aimed at undermining Hamas, the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah decided Thursday to dismantle all Islamic charitable organizations in the West Bank. Hamas condemned the decision as a “declaration of war” on the needy and warned that thousands of families would be affected…..The charities that are being targeted are known as zakah committees….PA officials said Hamas has been using the zakah committees as a means of transferring funds to its supporters in the West Bank….The ministry said it was planning to review the financial conduct of all the committees to establish whether they were receiving funds from Hamas….The latest measure against the Islamic charities is the second of its kind in recent months. Last August, the PA government decided to dissolve 103 charities and nongovernmental organizations, under the pretext that they had committed administrative, financial or legal violations.
Many of the zakah committees have been financially supported by an organization known as the Union of Good headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Yousssef Qaradawi. As previous posts have reported, the Union of Good was created by Qaradawi following the beginning of the so-called “Second Intifada” against Israel in 2000. Most of the organizations comprising the Union of Good, such as INTERPAL and the Al-Aqsa Foundation, had been in existence for years and have been funneling funds to West Bank and Gaza charities believed by many governments to be supporting Hamas such as Al-Salah. Although banned in the U.S, the Union of Good member organizations are located throughout the world but mainly in Europe and the Gulf Countries. Several but not all European governments have attempted to close the operations of Union of Good organizations including Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark but those actions have either been unsuccessful or successfully challenged in Denmark and the Netherlands. The Union of Good organizations have never been acted against in major European countries such as France, the U.K. and Italy. There is substantial organizational overlap between the Union of Good organizations in Europe and the member organizations of the Federation of Islamic organizations in Europe (FIOE), the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group in Europe.