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Raed Salah, Hamas and Interpal

Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has British connections which illustrate just how extreme he is.

In 2003 he and four other members of the movement were arrested and charged with funding Hamas and illegal dealings with an Iranian intelligence operative. In 2005 he agreed to a plea bargain and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

The case revealed that one of his key supporters abroad was Interpal, the British charity that serves Hamas. As Matthew Levitt and Dennis Ross note in their book on Hamas:

The ties between Interpal and Hamas front organizations in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel have been established not only through receipts found in Hamas charities, but also via telephone intercepts introduced in the case of Sheikh Raed Salah, an Israeli-Arab leader charged with funnelling money to Hamas. Transcripts reveal that Salah communicated extensively with Interpal officials while laundering and funnelling money received from Interpal through charities to Hamas institutions in the West Bank and Gaza.

That’s not the only connection between Interpal and Salah.

Interpal trustee and Vice Chairman Essam Mustafa, also known as Essam Yusuf, has been named as a trustee, “director of operations”, and secretary general of the Union of Good, a Hamas financing vehicle. Raed Salah too has been named as a trustee of the Union of Good.

Like Interpal, the Union of Good has been designated by the US for terrorist funding. The US Treasury notes:

The Union of Good is an organization created by Hamas leadership in late-2000 to transfer funds to the terrorist organization. Union of Good acts as a broker for Hamas by facilitating financial transfers between a web of charitable organizations—including several organizations previously designated under E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hamas—and Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. The primary purpose of this activity is to strengthen Hamas’ political and military position in the West Bank and Gaza, including by: (i) diverting charitable donations to support Hamas members and the families of terrorist operatives; and (ii) dispensing social welfare and other charitable services on behalf of Hamas.

The Union of Good link is so serious that even Britain’s Charity Commission, a notoriously weak regulator in counter-terrorism, had no choice but to take action. It has forced Essam Mustafa to sever his links with the Union.

Never mind. Hamas business as usual continues. Just this weekend Interpal took a “Miles of Smiles “ convoy into Gaza. It was greeted by Hamas leader Ahmed Al-Kurd, who has also been designated by the US, and its aid was handed over to the Hamas government. Then it was time to be feted by Ismail Haniyeh. Here is a picture of Essam Mustafa with the terrorist group’s leader.

Here is another picture which shows that Ibrahim Hewitt, Interpal’s chairman, was also in the delegation. He is the man on the right with a white cap. To his right one sees his fellow extremist and Hamas supporter Ismail Patel.

Mohamed Ali Harrath, the CEO of Islam Channel, was also recognised by Haniyeh at the ceremony. Islam Channel will sponsor two of Raed Salah’s scheduled UK events.

Salah too has been hailed by Hamas. Here, for example, is Khaled Meshaal saluting Salah when he was released from another spell in prison in 2010:

Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, on Sunday extended warmest congratulations to Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, for his release from Israeli jail.

A statement by Hamas said that Mishaal extended his congratulations in his name and on behalf of all members of the political bureau and cadres and supporters of Hamas and the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in general.

The statement hoped that Sheikh Salah would be able to continue his national path in defense of Jerusalem, the Aqsa Mosque, and holy shrines, which are the target of aggression on the part of the Israeli occupation forces and extremist settlers.

Just last week Hamas named a football field in Gaza after Salah:

Inaugurating a new soccer field in Beit Hanoun, named after Islamic Movement in Israel northern branch leader Raed Salah, Hamas Prime Minister Isma’il Haniya said that the field bears the name of a great Palestinian leader.

Turning back to Ibrahim Hewitt, what else does he do besides providing material and political support to Hamas? He is Daud Abdullah’s deputy at Middle East Monitor (MEMO), the pro-Hamas hate publishing operation.

This is the nasty network Mr Salah is coming to see in the UK next week. MEMO will be one of his hosts and sponsors, alongside the Islamic Forum of Europe, Islam Channel, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, and Labour MPs Richard Burden, Jeremy Corbyn, and Yasmin Qureshi.

Unless, of course, David Cameron’s government fulfils its promises to get tough on extremists by excluding Raed Salah from this country.