Helping Palestinians in need is not ‘terrorism’; they are the victims of Israeli terrorism

Ibrahim Hewitt

I know none of the details of the arrest of Palestinian Amin Abu Rashid and his daughter Israa in Holland recently. I do know, however, that the track record of European governments in levelling allegations of “funding terrorism” against Palestinian-European organisations over the past twenty years or so has been abysmal. In almost every case, when taken to court the authorities have lost the legal argument.

Will this happen again with Abu Rashid and Israa? Time will tell, but what is interesting is that it introduces to the world another no doubt well-funded “Israeli activist group”, Ad Kan.

It is well known, of course, that all allegations of “terrorism” and “funding Hamas” arise from “intelligence” shared by Israel and its propaganda groups in Israel and abroad. When the charity of which I was chair of trustees for almost 25 years, Interpal, was declared to be a “specially designated global terrorist entity” by the US Treasury in 2003, our name was simply one of a number of organisations and individuals on a list supplied by the Israeli foreign ministry for George W Bush to rubber stamp. The then US president announced to the world 20 years ago this month that our assets in the US were being frozen. I only found out from the BBC website. Interpal has never had any assets in the US, so Bush was simply involved in gesture politics at Israel’s instigation. When the British charity regulator asked the US treasury to provide the evidence for the “terrorist” designation of Interpal, none was forthcoming aside from half a dozen press cuttings.

Post-designation, $120,000 donated to Interpal was taken by a major US bank because all transactions in dollars have to pass through New York. The bank grabbed the $120,000 and still has it.

So when I read that, “Abu Rashid leads the Israa Foundation… which is part of a network known as the Union of [sic] Good.” and that, “The US Department of the Treasury labelled the Union of Good [as] a terrorist group in 2008,” any credibility that these Israeli “investigations” might have had disintegrated. We know how these things work, and credible evidence has little or no role to play.

A number of things have to be borne in mind with such “news”, the first of which is that just because the US Treasury puts an organisation or individual on a “terrorist list”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the group or person in question is actually a “terrorist”. It simply means that Israel is trying yet again — it’s never really stopped — to prevent any humanitarian aid from getting through to the Palestinians living under its brutal military occupation and siege in the Gaza Strip.

After a number of years trying to have Interpal removed from the same list, our New York lawyer was told by Treasury officials “off the record” that our designation was a “political decision” and State Department intervention would be needed to remove the charity from the list. It wasn’t due to any proven criminal activity; if it was, we would surely have been closed down once the British authorities were presented with the evidence, neither of which happened. Furthermore, a senior Metropolitan Police officer said: “The absence of any police involvement is hugely significant.” I once asked a very senior British Army officer who was showing me around a major military base in the south of England if he was aware of the allegations against Interpal and, by implication, myself as its chairman. “Of course,” he replied, “Interpal; terrorist entity; we know it’s all a load of rubbish.”

When Wikileaks released a transcript of a conversation between US and UK officials about Interpal, the phrase “absent a smoking gun” was mentioned in the discussion about closing Interpal down. In other words, the Americans had no evidence. And the British security authorities, we know, were clear that Israeli “intelligence” claims would not stand up in open court.

What’s more, let us not forget that Abu Rashid and his family are Palestinians who are prevented by Israel from exercising their legitimate right of return to their homeland. Israeli “intelligence” — now there’s a thought — is, therefore, hardly likely to be objective. Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying for years to get the definition of a “Palestinian refugee” changed so that if the apartheid state allows a few thousand to return it will be seen as having fulfilled its duty. Allowing the 750,000 Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed in 1948 or their descendants to return to their homes remains a condition of Israel’s membership of the UN that has never been fulfilled. Netanyahu has even been putting pressure on successive US presidents to close down the UN agency set up specifically to help “Palestine refugees”, UNRWA. No UNRWA, no refugees, is his warped Zionist logic.

The article in The National Interest covering Abu Rashid’s arrest is straight from the Israeli propaganda playbook — to use a term from the article — in that it is taken as read that allegations of terrorism are true, without any due legal process, without any evidence being presented in court, and without anyone being found guilty. It does mention the Holy Land Foundation in the US, whose senior officials are in prison and are likely to be for many more years, but it is silent on the fact that the “trial has been criticised by some NGOs, including Human Rights Watch” and was described as a “grave miscarriage of justice” which “capitalised on post-9/11 Islamophobic hysteria” in order to get a conviction. Indeed, “Civil rights attorney Emily Ratner wrote that the use of anonymous and hearsay evidence by the prosecutors was ‘constitutionally questionable’ at best.”

There is also the simple fact to consider that Hamas is a national resistance movement, and resistance against a military occupation is legitimate under international law. That is undeniable, and yet the level of propaganda put out by Israel and its Zionist allies in the West, including media outlets, is such that this is ignored, deliberately. Demonise the victims of Israel’s state terrorism — and the state was founded on terrorism against the British and the Palestinians, remember — and it is an easy next step to demonise those who seek to support the victims with humanitarian aid.

Zionist pressure and threats led to Interpal’s bank accounts being closed down, making it impossible for the charity to operate. Nevertheless, when it was distributing a relatively meagre average of £5 million per annum to Palestinians in desperate need and local community groups trying to fill gaps in healthcare and education provision caused by decades of Israel’s brutal military occupation, it did so with total impartiality. There was never any question of the charity asking individuals or organisations if they were Hamas supporters or Fatah supporters, or supporters of any other Palestinian faction; to do so would have broken Britain’s charity laws, which insist, rightly, that aid must be given solely on the basis of need, and nothing else.

I must confess that I have never Googled to see how much one surface to air missile, for example, might cost; or one AK47 assault rifle. To do so would provide the sort of “evidence” of evil intent that the Zionists and their lackeys in the West would jump on with glee. However, I guess that £5m a year is hardly going to fill anyone’s arsenal, especially when every Interpal penny has been accounted for on charitable expenditure in any case.

The argument of terrorist funding is, therefore, unsustainable, and always has been as far as Interpal is concerned. Whether it will be the same for Amin Abu Rashid and his daughter Israa will no doubt come out as their case proceeds through the courts, if it actually gets that far. On past experience, though, I wouldn’t trust the “evidence” presented against them one iota, especially if it comes from Israeli sources. Israel has too much invested in trying to block all humanitarian aid from getting to the Palestinians, and thus making life as miserable as possible for them in the hope that they will give up and leave their homeland.

In Zionist terminology this is called “silent transfer”. It is an evil concept with an evil objective, which is hardly surprising given the racist nature of Zionism and the state it underpins. Helping Palestinians in desperate need is not “terrorism”; they are the victims of Israel’s state terrorism.

(Source: MEMO)