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HSBC to block donations to Palestinian aid charity

The British bank announced it will no longer allow donations for Interpal.

The United Kingdom (QNN)- The Middle East Eye reported on Monday that the British bank HSBC has told customers in the UK that it will stop processing standing order payments to the Palestinian aid charity Interpal from next month.

The bank, according to the Middle East Eye, sent letters to account holders, who make regular donations to Interpal, informing them any payments would stop on 17 May without providing any further explanation.

The move would have a heavy impact on the charity because it has been announced during Ramadan, when traditionally Muslims give far more than at any other period of the year.

Muslims donated more than £100m during Ramadan of 2016 alone, according to the UK Charity Commission.

Founded 25 years ago, Interpal is described on the Charity Commission’s website as “one of the leading British charities focusing on providing relief and development aid to Palestinians” in the West Bank, Gaza, and in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

HSBC, which is one of the world’s largest banks, has a record of closing down accounts, including those of prominent Muslim customers, without explanation, withdrawing banking facilities from a number of organisations and community leaders in 2014 and 2015.

Those affected included the Finsbury Park Mosque in London and Anas Altikriti, founder and CEO of the Cordoba Foundation, a think tank which says that it devotes itself to building bridges between Islam and the west.

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), a pro-Israel lobbying group, did not stop its attacks against the charity. UKLFI’s actions against Interpal were based on the US Treasury designation of Interpal as a terrorist organisation in 2003.

This followed charges that the group supported Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement designated by the EU and US as a terrorist group.

Last year, the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail online has paid £120,000 in damages plus costs to Interpal after the paper published false terror and extremism allegations.

Interpal has also won a series of libel cases. The first came against the Board of Deputies of British Jews in 2005 after it denounced Interpal as a terrorist organisation on its website.

The Jerusalem Post apologised to Interpal in 2006, while the Express newspaper paid damages to the charity in 2010 after claiming it was linked to Hamas.

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