The U.K. Charity has issued a report of its latest investigation into the terrorist ties of the British charity known as Palestinians Relief and Development Fund (Interpal), concluding that it was unable to verify the material linking INTERPAL to Hamas but ruling that it must sever its connection with the charity coalition known as the Union of Good. According to a Commission press release:
The Charity Commission has today published the results of its inquiry into the charity Palestinians Relief and Development Fund (Interpal). Interpal works in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where there is considerable instability and where organisations designated as terrorist by the UK government operate. As a result the trustees face particular challenges and should operate robust procedures proportionate to the risks and practical difficulties involved. The inquiry was opened following a number of allegations made in a BBC Panorama programme.
The Commission summarized its conclusions as follows:
-The Commission’s inquiry confirmed that Interpal did maintain clear financial audit trails in their delivery of aid for humanitarian purposes. (Paragraph 120)
-The Commission concluded that it could not verify that the material it examined suggesting certain partner organisations funded by the charity may be promoting terrorist ideology or activities, so the material was of insufficient evidential value to support these allegations. (Paragraphs 59-61)
However, the Inquiry concluded that the charity trustees:
-had not taken sufficiently rigorous steps to investigate allegations about some of their partner organisations, (Paragraphs 49-68)
-had not put in place adequate due diligence and monitoring procedures to be satisfied that these organisations were not promoting terrorist ideologies or activities. Where procedures were in place, they were not sufficient nor fully implemented.(Paragraphs 115-147)
-had not adequately managed the charity’s relationship with the organisation the Union for Good. The Inquiry concluded that the charity’s continued membership of the Union for Good was not appropriate for a number of reasons set out in the report, including the involvement of designated entities in projects co-ordinated through the Union for Good, that designated entities had been amongst the Union for Good’s membership, and that one of the charity’s trustees was closely linked to the organisation. (Paragraphs 69-114)
-As a result of the inquiry, the Commission has used its statutory powers to direct Interpal’s trustees to review their due diligence and monitoring procedures relating to their partner organisations, end the charity’s relationship with the Union for Good and ensure that no trustee holds office or has a role within the Union for Good. The Commission will be reviewing with the trustees the implementation of these requirements.
INTERPAL is perhaps the most important of the charities comprising the Union of Good, described in a NEFA Foundation report as follows:
The Union of Good is a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. It is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United States, although neither Youssef Qaradawi nor any of the Trustees were similarly designated. Despite the fact that action has been taken against some of its member organizations in Europe, many of its other European member organizations continue to operate. Further, the Union of Good itself does not appear to be under investigation in Europe.
As discussed in an earlier post, the Union of Good was recently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity.
INTERPAL posedt a statement on its website claiming that it was “vindicated” by the new report. According to the statement:
- Interpal is cleared of any bias in its work and aid delivery
- Interpal is cleared of the accusation of carrying out non-charitable work
- Interpal’s trustees are cleared of any links to terrorist organisations or activities
- Interpal’s charitable partners are free from any allegations made against them by the BBC Panorama programme and the Israeli Government
- The Charity Commission rejects all allegations made and evidence brought against Interpal by the BBC Panorama programme and The Israeli Government
- The American administration failed for the second time to provide the Charity Commission with any credible evidence against Interpal
- Interpal is free to continue its charitable work on behalf of needy Palestinians
The statement also claimed that INTERPAL was subject to “political” campaign” designed to halt its humanitarian work:
Given the obvious collaboration between the Israelis and Panorama, it is hard not to conclude that we are the target of an ongoing and concerted political campaign designed to bring a halt to our humanitarian work in the region,” comments Ibrahim Hewitt. “We fully understand the pressure to which the Charity Commission itself has been subjected.
The Union of Good issued its own thirty-page statement on the investigation it which it claimed that Youssef Qaradawi had no key role in the Union of Good and threatening unspecified “legal action” if certain statements in the Charity Commission report were not altered.