Journalists and UN officials bestow legitimacy to pro-terror charity Interpal
British charity Interpal recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. As Stand for Peace has long documented, Interpal is an extremist charity with links to terrorist organizations. Interpal is a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” entity under US law. According to the US Treasury Department, the organisation is one of several “charities that provide support to Hamas and form part of its funding network in Europe.” Interpal officials frequently attend Hamas-organised ceremonies, including meetings with the families of Hamas terrorist operatives.
One of Interpal’s trustees, Ibrahim Hewitt, is a regular fixture among extremist networks in the UK. “The Jews,” argues Hewitt, “cannot be entrusted with the sanctity and security of this Holy Land.” He has also referred to the “so-called Holocaust” and in a pamphlet, titled “What Does Islam Say?”, Hewit advocates the death penalty for apostates and adulterers, and demands that homosexuals suffer “severe punishments” for their “great sin.”
Another senior Interpal official, Essam Yusuf (a.k.a Essam Mustafa) spends most of his days organising convoys to the Gaza strip, as part of a project called Miles of Smiles. Miles of Smiles supplies the Hamas regime’s welfare programs in Gaza, which serve to shore up Hamas’ legitimacy to rule [See: Matthew Levitt, ‘Hamas’, Yale University Press]. The convoys are supported by the Union of Good, but are chiefly organized by Essam Yusuf and Ahmed Brahimi, who, several times a year, lead the convoys into Gaza, where they are welcomed by senior Hamas leaders.
In response to the recent murder of five Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue, Interpal partner Ahmed Brahimi wrote: “God is most great… God be praised for the martyrdom operation in Jerusalem and news of the state of the killed and injured…God is Most Great and God be praised.”
In March 2013, after one Miles of Smiles convoy reached the Gaza strip, Essam Yusuf enthusiastically took part in a conference with Hamas terror leader Ismail Haniyeh. In his speech at the conference, Haniyeh promises the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem and re-affirmed a commitment to violence: “O brothers … we will continue jihad and not give up”.
Interpal trustees visits to the Gaza strip seem to also include visits to the families of Hamas terrorists. In late August 2012, after leading a convoy to Gaza, Essam Yusuf joined with key Hamas leaders and visited the families of Hamas ‘martyrs’. The visits included the family homes of deceased terror leaders such as:
- Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas leader, who once promised: “We will kill Jews everywhere. There will be no security for any Jews, those who came from America, Russia or anywhere.”
- Sheikh Said Seyam, who commanded Hamas’s ‘Executive Force’, a militia which tortured and murdered Palestinian Fatah supporters in 2006 during Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip.
- Ismail Abu Shanab, a senior Hamas leader who, in 2003, was assassinated by an Israeli helicopter missile strike, as a response to Hamas’s suicide bombing of a crowded bus in central Jerusalem, in which 20 civilians were murdered and over 120 injured, including children and babies.
- Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, who was responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks. In a Hamas statement distributed in the US through a group called the Islamic Association for Palestine, Yassin stated: “Come to jihad, come to jihad, come to martyrdom… Those thirsty for Jihad all over the world. For the sake of Allah. For liberating the land of Palestine and Jerusalem…. We declared and continue to declare now, that a Jew is a Jew… do not trust them when they say they want peace because they act only to serve their religion and their people.”
Despite the plethora of links between Interpal officials and Hamas, it continues to benefit from the support of MPs, journalists and various officials. An Early Day Motion in this current session of parliament, for instance – which declares support for Interpal and paints it as the victim of a witch-hunt – has been signed by 38 British MPs.
These declaration of support for a charity linked to terror groups abroad and extremism at home are, depressingly, nothing new. Most recently, Interpal celebrated its 20th year of existence by conducting an series of talks. One such meeting featured prominent British journalist Peter Oborne and Chris Gunness, the spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). They both sat next to Daud Abdullah, a British Islamist activist and head of Middle East Media Monitor, a pro-Hamas publication, which brought the Hamas activist Raed Saleh to the United Kingdom. Daud Abdullah is also the director of Middle East Media Monitor, a pro-Hamas publication, which brought the Hamas activist Raed Saleh to the United Kingdom. Abdullah was also the former deputy-secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, with which the British government severed links after Abdullah became a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration, a document which called for attacks on British troops and Jewish communities
Just a few days after Telegraph journalist Peter Oborne spoke on a platform provided by one of Britain’s (in the opinion of Stand for Peace) most egregious extremist groups, he penned an article for the Telegraph bemoaning the US designation of Interpal as a terror organisation. Oborne dismissed evidence of Interpal’s connections to Hamas by explaining: “It is almost impossible not to deal with Hamas, the ruling political party in the territory before the unity deal earlier this year, if you’re a charity working there.”
This is a particularly odd statement, mostly because plenty of charities do operate in the Gaza strip without engaging in photoshoots with Hamas leaders, and partly because its demonstrably refutable.
Does ‘dealing with Hamas’ for humanitarian purposes include Interpal trustee Ibrahim Hewitt (far-left) visiting the grave of Hamas’s founder?
Or Interpal trustee Essam Yusuf (right) paying his respects at the shrine (including the bombed-out car) of Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military terror force?