Facebook has blocked Interpal’s donations buttons from its platform. This follows a letter to Facebook from UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) last month, pointing out that Facebook was in breach of US terrorism sanctions by allowing Interpal to raise money through its site. Interpal is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US and is also listed as a Terrorism Financing Entity in Canada and included on Australia’s consolidated list for its affiliation to terrorism.
Interpal, whose full name is The Palestinians Relief And Development Fund , has a Facebook page here. However, none of the Donate buttons on the site are currently functioning.
UKLFI pointed out to Facebook that all US entities and their subsidiaries must comply with the US sanctions. Facebook had been assisting Interpal to raise money, because Donate buttons on Interpal’s website directed users to a page showing information on how to donate to Interpal.
The “donate” button at the top of the home page, that directed users to Interpal’s website no longer works. The “donate” button on the left hand side of the home page also no longer works.
In August 2003 the US Treasury described Interpal as a Hamas related charity and designated it as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), freezing its assets in the US and prohibiting transactions with US nationals. Interpal was described as follows: “Interpal, headquartered in the UK, has been a principal charity utilized to hide the flow of money to HAMAS. Reporting indicates it is the conduit through which money flows to HAMAS from other charities, e.g., the Al Aqsa Foundation (designated under EO 13224 on May 29th) and oversees the activities of other charities. For example, the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development (designated as part of this tranche), represents Interpal in Lebanon. Reporting indicates that Interpal is the fundraising coordinator of HAMAS. This role is of the type that includes supervising activities of charities, developing new charities in targeted areas, instructing how funds should be transferred from one charity to another, and even determining public relations policy.”
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the US Department of the Treasury, designated Interpal as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). Federal Regulation §594 on Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations applies to Interpal meaning that no US person may provide services or provide technological support for the benefit of Interpal.
Interpal has suffered a long list of problems as its various donations methods have been shut down over the past year. It has lost credit card donations, BT MyDonate, Just Giving, and Give as You Live.
Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “We are pleased that Facebook has now complied with US anti-terrrorism law, and has ceased to assist Interpal with its fundraising.”