Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed an order Thursday declaring the Islamic Relief Worldwide charity an “unlawful organization,” for funneling funds to Hamas.
The order bars the global relief organization, headquartered in the UK, from operating in Israel and the West Bank and prevents it from transferring money to West Bank residents.
The defense minister’s decision was reached following a tip from the Shin Bet security service and a recommendation from Israeli courts.
“This is an additional financial source for Hamas, and we don’t intend to let it run and assist terror activity against Israel,” Ya’alon said. “This is another step in our measures against Hamas in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and in the pressure we are applying on it, the goal of which is hurting the leaders and members of the organization, as well as its civilian infrastructure, which forms the basis of the organization’s activity among the [Palestinian] population.”
In 2006, the Gaza project director of IRW was arrested by Israeli forces and later deported, after admitting to transferring money to Hamas institutions. Iyaz Ali, a Pakistani-born British national, told Israeli interrogators he was aware of the nature of these organizations, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
Israeli forces have embarked on a massive campaign to locate three kidnapped boys while simultaneously destroying parts of the Hamas terror infrastructure in the West Bank.
The military has been conducting nightly raids and sweeps in cities across the West Bank since the teenagers — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gilad Shaar, 16 — disappeared last Thursday, arresting some 300 suspected terrorists, many of them Hamas men, since last week.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.