1. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently signed an order declaring 36 global Islamic funds and foundations as illegal associations. These belong to an umbrella organization called the Union of Good (See the Appendix for a list of the Islamic funds and foundations and the text of the order.). They were outlawed as belonging to Hamas's fund-raising system, which supports the extensive activities of its civilian infrastructure (the da'wah ) in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The funds transfer tens of millions of dollars a year to Hamas institutions in the PA-administered territories. Based on an Israel Security Agency report, in 2007 approximately $120,000,000 was transferred to Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip to finance terrorist organization activity, about 30% of which was earmarked for financing Hamas's da'wah . 1
2. Outlawing the foundations was the most comprehensive and extensive action ever taken by Israel against the global network supporting Hamas. The order is the latest in a series outlawing the Union of Good and Islamic funds and foundations belonging to it and institutions affiliated with Hamas. Some of the institutions included in previous orders were the British Interpal, the European branches of the Al-Aqsa, the American Holy Land Foundation, the Saudi Arabian World Assembly of Muslim Youth, and others in France , Holland , Italy , Denmark and Sweden . According to the ISA report, "without a doubt the comprehensiveness of order is significant, and will it obligate the banking and financial systems in Israel and abroad to coordinate their actions and take extreme care to avoid prosecution in criminal and civil suits filed by victims of terrorism...” 2
The Union of Good
3. The Union of Good was established in October 2000 as an umbrella organization for more than 50 Islamic funds and foundations around the world. It was established ad hoc as a global financing operation to support the Palestinians in the PA-administered territories. Its activity began a short time after the second Palestinian terrorist campaign ("the Al-Aqsa intifada”) began as an operation limited to 101 days. The campaign's success led to the founding of the Union of Good, which continues operating to this day, using a wide variety of means to transfer funds which for the most part reach Hamas institutions in the PA-administered territories. Its support of Hamas led it to being outlawed by the Israeli Defense Minister in 2002. Documents seized by the IDF clearly show that the PA also regards the Union of Good as supporting Hamas. 3
Hamas's main sources of funds 4
Transferring money to finance terrorism in the PA-administered territories 5
4. The Hamas leadership was involved in the Union of Good's establishment . The Union is a global mixture of designated Hamas and radical Islamic funds and foundations. The large amounts of money it transfers to the PA-administered territories reach, for the most part, Hamas's civilian infrastructure (the da'wah ). In that way the Union of Good aids Hamas in its efforts to strengthen its foothold and popularity in Palestinian society and, after its takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, to develop itself as a political alternative to the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria . In addition, the money sent to the civilian infrastructure is used to support terrorism, including suicide bombing terrorism, as can easily be seen from the documents seized by the IDF. It has recently become clear that Union of Good funds and foundations also raise money for the activities of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.
A seized document (with additional documents appended 6) signed by Rashid Abu Shubaq, who was head of Palestinian Preventive Security in the Gaza Strip. The memorandum deals with the Union of Good, calling it one of Hamas's largest donors.
5. The chairman of the board of the Union of Good is Sheikh Dr. Yussuf al-Qardawi , one of the most important Muslim clerics of our time. Egyptian by birth, he was forced to leave in the 1970s and now lives in Qatar . His extremist opinions regarding Israel are well-known, and for Hamas is a supreme religious authority even though he is not Palestinian. In the past he issued Islamic religious edicts ( fatwas) calling for jihad against Israel and the Jews and sanctioning suicide bombing attacks . In March 2002, shortly after women began carrying out suicide bombing attacks, he was the first to issue a fatwa allowing such actions. 7 As a senior Islamic authority and head of the Union of Good, he has provided religious Islamic justification for transferring funds meant for charity to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, as an expression of "financial jihad.”
Sheikh Dr. Yussuf al-Qardawi, chairman of the Union of Good's board of trustees.
A fatwa issued by Dr. Yussuf al-Qardawi relating to the participation of women in suicide bombing attacks (Palestine-info website, November 18, 2004).
6. A prominent member of the board of trustees is Essam Yussuf , the secretary general, who is also a dominant figure in Interpal, Hamas's designated fund in Britain , which was outlawed by Israel in May 1997 and declared a terrorist organization in January 1998. 8 Another prominent figure is the Union of Good's second-in-command, Field Marshal ‘Abd al-Rahman Siwar al-Dhahab , former Sudanese president, who heads an Islamic organization dealing with the da'wah in Africa . Other members of the board of trustees are prominent Islamic activists, among them Sheikh Hamid al-Bitawi , a Hamas activist in Nablus and chairman of Al-Tadhamun ("solidarity”) "charitable society” (outlawed by Israel in 2002 for its ties to Hamas); Shiekh Ra'ed Salah , head of the northern faction of the Islamic movement in Israel; and Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri , the Mufti of Jerusalem, a radical who preaches jihad and suicide bombing attacks.
Hamas's civilian infrastructure: the da'wah
7. In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip Hamas maintains an extensive network of civilian institutions called the da'wah . It includes dozens of "charitable societies,” educational, financial and other institutions, mosques, women's and workers' unions, and sports groups. The da'wah is Hamas's main source of power and what makes it different from other terrorist and Islamic organizations in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Hamas's da'wah institutions were outlawed by Israel for being an integral part of Hamas and for supporting terrorism.
8. The da'wah has two main functions:
The Union of Good support for summer camps in the Gaza Strip
i) It provides the population with educational, religious, welfare, health and other services, exploiting the weakness and helplessness of the PA, which should be providing them. In that way Hamas gains popular support, reinforces is ability to stand firm in a violent confrontation with Israel and establishes a political power base which weakens the PA. That enables Hamas to establish itself as a potential future alternative to the PA in Judea and Samaria as well.
ii) Supporting terrorism is reflected in the following ways :
1) The da'wah uses " education,” preaching, inciting the populace to terrorism and violence and spreads radical Islamic propaganda within the battle for hearts and minds. Hamas achieves that through its independent education system, by infiltrating Hamas teachers into the PA's educational system, acquiring influence over mosques throughout the PA-administered territories, issuing printed material and using various methods to brainwash Palestinian society with its ideology. Hamas's propaganda activities, permitted or tolerated by the PA, have raised an entire generation whose only knowledge of Islam is Hamas's militant-radical variety, which preaches the destruction of the State of Israel through armed confrontation. Those Palestinian youngsters will take their place in the ranks of Hamas, either as political-social activists or as terrorist operatives.
2) The da'wah supports Hamas's terrorist operatives (wanted terrorists, prisoners, and the wounded) and the families of "shaheeds,” including suicide bombing terrorists. That is done directly, with cash payments, or indirectly, through health, welfare, religious and educational services, etc..
An Internet posting from the Gaza Strip dated July 6 about the Union of Good’s sponsorship of more than 100 summer camps in the Gaza Strip, whose motto is "Standing firm despite the blockade” (the Union of Good’s website, July 8, 2008). Most of the camps are organized by Hamas’s civilian infrastructure (the da’wah) , and brainwash young children with Hamas radical Islamic ideology which includes the support for terrorism and hatred for the Jewish people and Israel. In the past such camps were exploited as semi-military training camps for adolescents.
Pictures from summer camp, summer 2008
Pictures from summer camps run by Hamas-affiliated societies. Left: Camp run by the Dar al-Qur'an society where segregated groups of young men and women memorize the Qur'an. Center: Hamas administration prime minister Ismail Haniya visiting a summer camp in Khan Yunis. Right: The group named after "shaheed” Ismail Abu Shanab, one of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, who died in a targeted killing in August 2003. The group belongs to a summer camp run by Hamas's Islamic Association. 9
3) The da'wah supports Hamas's routine activities in the PA-administered territories by providing funds for political activity, its media, "information” and propaganda networks in the PA-administered territories and beyond, and by providing financial services. Sometimes, in our assessment, the da'wah funds are also trickle into its military-terrorist networks .
4) The da'wah supports Hamas activists in the PA-administered territories, including those connected to its operative networks, by creating employment for them (and sometimes for their families) in the many "charitable societies” and institutions which form its civilian infrastructure. Thus Hamas has legal camouflage for its activities (including in its dealings with the PA, to which according to law its civilian institutions are subordinate, including the "charitable societies” and mosques).
The "education” provided by the Hamas-affiliated kindergartens run
by the Islamic Association
Left : A child dressed as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah giving a speech. Right : Carrying toy guns and burning the Israeli flag. The pictures are from an end-of-the-year party held in 2001 at a kindergarten belonging to Hamas's Islamic Union in the Gaza Strip and posted on the Internet. This year the Islamic Association is operating summer camps for adolescents, sponsored by the Union of Good.
PA actions taken against Hamas's civilian infrastructure
9. The PA is well aware of the extent and significance of Hamas's civilian infrastructure and that it has gained strength at the PA's expense, creating a Hamas entity developing into a radical Islamic alternative to the PA itself. It is also aware that some of Hamas's institutions (the mosques, universities and student organizations) serve Hamas (and other terrorist organizations) as recruiting grounds for terrorist operatives, including suicide bombers. For that reason, the PA, before and during the violent confrontation, kept close intelligence tabs on the activities of a significant portion of such institutions, even though generally no systematic action was taken against them.
10. The PA has contented itself with three short-lived attempts to deal with Hamas's civilian infrastructure, one in 1996, one between December 2001 and April 2002, and one in August 2003. During those peak times the PA carried out low-key activities against Hamas but fearing a direct confrontation, did not take determined, effective action over a long period of time and its efforts petered out after a promising beginning .
11. After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip (June 2007) and the heightened tension between Abu Mazen's administration and the Hamas administration, the PA increased its efforts to weaken Hamas's civilian influence (especially in the Nablus and Jenin districts) to prevent a repetition of the Gaza scenario in Judea and Samaria . One sign of those efforts were the Salam Fayyad government's intensive actions taken during the second half of 2007 against the "charitable societies” and other Hamas da'wah institutions.
12. The PA disbanded the "charitable societies,” fired the Hamas activists heading them, replaced workers, inspected the transfer and use of funds, replaced preachers in the mosques and confiscated incitement material. The Salam Fayyad government also passed an anti-money laundering law and decided to disband 92 "charitable societies” operating in Judea and Samaria , uniting them with 11 societies supervised by the PA's Ministry of Religious Endowments. Hamas has often strongly objected to the measures. Their success will depend on the willingness and capability of the PA to persist in applying them.
The Defense Minister's declaration of 36 funds and foundations belonging to the Union of Good as illegal association (in accordance with the 1945 defense (emergency) regulations). 10
1. In accordance with regulation 84 (1) (B) of the 1945 defense (emergency) regulations [hereafter regulations ] and having been convinced of its necessity to protect state security and public welfare and order, I hereby declare: The groups of individuals or organizations and associations listed below, members of the Union of Good, are illegal associations as part of Hamas, and regardless of the names they use, they are illegal associations by virtue of the regulations.
2. The following organizations were outlawed:
List of banned organizations
1 . The Saudi Committee for the Relief of Palestinian People (Formerly the Saudi Foundation for Support of the Al-Aqsa Intifada)
اللجنة السعودية لإغاثة الشعب الفلسطيني
2. International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO)
هيئة الإغاثة الإسلامية العالمية
3. Patients Helping Fund – The Administration Al-Qadisiyah the Medical Committee ( Kuwait )
صندوق إعانة المرضى بالكويت
4. Makkah Charity Institution ( Saudi Arabia )
مؤسسة مكة المكرمة الخيرية
5. Mercy International ( Kuwait )
الرحمة العالمية بالكويت
6. Zakat House ( Kuwait )
بيت الزكاة بالكويت
7. The Charitable Palestine Committee ( Kuwait )
لجنة فلسطين الخيرية بالكويت
8. Mohammed Bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Establishment ( Dubai )
مؤسسة الشيخ محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم- دبي
9. Fujairah Charity Association (UAE)
الجمعية الخيرية - الفجيرة
10. The Sharga House of Charity (UAE)
بيت الشارقة الخيري - الشارقة
11. UAE Red Crescent Society (UAE)
هيئة الهلال الأحمر الإماراتي
12. Al Islamic Society- The Charity Act ( Bahrain )
جمعية الإصلاح – لجنة الأعمال الخيرية بالبحرين
13. The Islamic Society ( Bahrain )
الجمعية الإسلامية البحرين
14. Sheikh Eid Bin Muhammad Al-Thani Charity Association ( Doha , Qatar )
مؤسسة الشيخ عيد آل ثاني بقطر
15. The Charitable Qatar Society (including branches in the PA-administered territories)
جمعية قطر الخيرية
16. Palestine Qatar Committee for Relief in Palestine ( Doha , Qatar )
اللجنة القطرية المشتركة للإغاثة – فلسطين
17. The Islamic Charitable Society to Help Al-Aqsa ( Yemen )
الجمعية الخيرية الإسلامية لنصرة الأقصى اليمن
18. The Ansar Charitable Society in Sudan
جمعية أنصار الخيرية بالسودان
19. The Islamic Dawah Association Sudan
منظمة الدعوة الإسلامية السودان
20. Guidance And Reform Society ( Algeria )
التوحيد والإصلاح الجزائر
21. The Movement for Unity and Reform ( Morocco )
حركة التوحيد والإصلاح, شارع المقاومة الرباط- المغرب
22. The Charitable Committee of Islamic Help to the Palestinian People ( Amman , Jordan )
لجنة زكاة المناصرة الإسلامية للشعب الفلسطيني عمان
23. The Union of Good Lebanon (includes US charitable organization)
ائتلاف الخير في لبنان- صندوق الزكاة في لبنان- دار الفتوى
24. The International Islamic Council for Dawah and Relief ( Cairo , Egypt )
المجلس الإسلامي العالمي للدعوة والإغاثة بمصر
25. The Humanitarian Relief Committee Doctors Syndicate ( Cairo , Egypt )
لجنة الإغاثة الإنسانية - نقابة الأطباء بمصر
26. The Reform Society ( Yemen )
الجمعية الإصلاح الاجتماعي الخيرية اليمن
27. Human Appeal International (UAE, Britain , Australia )
هيئة الأعمال الخيرية
28. Humanitarian Relief Foundation ( Britain )
مؤسسة الإغاثة الإنسانية لندن
29. Muslim Hands ( Britain )
مسلم هاندس لندن
30. Muslim Aid / Educational Aid for Palestinians ( Britain )
العون الإسلامي, العون التعليمي للفلسطينيين, لندن
31. Sanabil Al-Aqsa Charitable Foundation ( Sweden )
مؤسسة سنابل الأقصى الخيرية السويد
32. Foundation of Innocents / Innocents ( Norway )
33. Association de Secours Palestinien - ASP Relief For Palestine Society / ASP / SHS / VUP ( Switzerland )
جمعية الإغاثة لفلسطين سويسرا
34. Palestine Association - PVOE/PHV ( Austria )
رابطة فلسطين النمسا
35. Al-Aqsa Foundation of South Africa / Al-Aqsa International Foundation
مؤسسة الأقصى - جنوب افريقيا
36. Insan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi (IHH) / International Humanitarian Relief Organisation / Internationale Humanitere Hilfs Organisation ( Turkey )
مؤسسة الأقصى - جنوب افريقيا
Anyone holding property belonging to the aforementioned illegal organizations is required to inform the Defense Minister through Arnon Ikan, Senior Deputy to the Comptroller General of the Finance Ministry, tel. 02-5317506 or 02-5317434.Anyone considering himself harmed by this notice can lodge an objection in writing to the Defense Ministry's legal counsel within 14 days of receipt.
July 7, 2008
1 Data taken from an ISA report about the order to outlaw 36 Islamic funds belonging to the Union of Good (henceforth "the ISA report”).
2 Ibid .
3 Photostats of the documents can be found in the various appendices of the February 2005 ITIC Bulletin entitled "The Union of Good: an umbrella organization comprised of more than 50 Islamic charitable funds and foundations worldwide” at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/sib/2_05/funds.htm#contents . The appendices are at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/sib/2_05/funds_a.htm .
4 From the ISA report
5 Ibid .
6 For pictures of the documents see our Bulletin about the Union of Good, Appendix I.
7 For further information see Appendices F and G in our Bulletin about the Union of Good at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/sib/2_05/funds_f.htm
8 For further information see our December 2004 Bulletin entitled about Interpal at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia//ENGLISH/MARKETING%20TERRORISM/PDF/DEC12A_04.PDF . (Interpal is included in American Executive Order 13224, August 2003, which ordered the freezing of the assets of individuals and bodies linked to terrorist organizations.)
9 The Islamic Association (Al-Jamiyyah al-Islamiyyah) is an important Hamas institution in the Gaza Strip. It is headed by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bahr , a top Hamas activist in Gaza . Its activity includes indoctrinating young people and it runs a large kindergarten network (for the quality of the education the children receive, see below.) In early 2002 the PA closed the Association's offices but it continues operating, its activities financed by donations from Islamic funds abroad.
10 Free translation of the original Hebrew document.