While a relative calm is being maintained in the Gaza Strip, the struggle against Hamas
in the West Bank continues and Israel
is stepping up its efforts to prevent the transfer of funds to the organization.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
recently signed an edict declaring 36 funds party to the 'Union of Good' organization as banned in Israel as they are deemed directly involved in fundraising operations for Hamas.
This is the broadest ranging ban ever issued in Israel and joins a series of previous similar bans against charity organizations abroad connected to this union and to Hamas.
Such organizations include the British Interpal fund, branches of the al-Aqsa fund in Europe, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in the US, the Saudi-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth and additional funds in France, Holland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and other countries.
Defense establishment officials said on Monday that “this is an important step against the global system assisting Hamas in its fundraising endeavors. A large number of organizations working abroad, responsible for large-scale fundraising for Hamas have been made illegal.”
The official also said that the 'Union of Good' serves, for all intents and purposes, as an umbrella organization of designated Hamas foundations worldwide, with an emphasis on Europe and the Persian Gulf.
It should be noted that for this reason, the Hamas-affiliated funds operating in Israel, were outlawed in 2002 by the Defense Ministry.
Dozens of Hamas-led foundations abroad, most of which belong to the Union of Good, as well as donor associations operating in the Territories, comprise a well-coordinated and organized network used by the Islamist group.
The chain works to raise funds for Hamas' activities, including civil infrastructure programs which are essential to the organization’s efforts to secure support amongst the Palestinian population. The money is also used to support Hamas' Gaza leadership.
IDF troops in jeeps raided the West Bank town of Nablus early Monday, shutting down a girls' school, a medical center and two other facilities of a Hamas-affiliated charity, witnesses said.
Computers, documents, cash and furniture were seized.