Non-profit_name = Interpal
Non-profit_type = Humanitarian
founded_date = November
key_people = Ibrahim Hewitt
Palestine, Jordonand Lebanon
Medical, Educationand Community
method = Direct Aid / Program Funding
revenue = £5.2 million (
Non-profit_slogan = "Helping Palestinians in need"
homepage = [http://www.interpal.org www.interpal.org]
Interpal, the informal name for the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund is a non-political, non-profit making British charity set up in 1994 to alleviate problems faced by
Palestinians and focuses solely on the provision of relief and development aid to the poor and needy Palestinians the world over, primarily in the Palestine, Lebanonand Jordan.
It is chaired by Mr. Ibrahim Hewitt, the other
trusteesbeing Mr. G Faour (also a trustee of the Palestinian Return Centre), Dr. E Mustafa, Mr. I Y Ginwala MBE, Mr. M Rafiq Vindhani and Dr. S Husain. Interpal is currently the largest British charity supplying humanitarian aid to Palestinians and is "one of the largest Muslim-led charities in Europe". It is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales under the number [http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registeredcharities/showcharity.asp?regno=1040094&submit=Run+Search 1040094] .
Interpal's program has four main points of focus: Community Development - which tries to lift communities out of poverty with long-term, sustainable solutions based on their needs; Humanitarian work - assisting those immediately affected by conflict, especially in the field of water and sanitation; Health & Medical - Distributing funds to hospitals, medical centers and local clinics to ensure continued service provision; Education programmes - in order to empower the youth of Palestine, and as a means of providing them with a better education and future.
The charity organises several events throughout the year including charity bazaars, university talks, auctions, and fundraising dinners. Other annual campaigns include Ramadan and Qurbani appeals.
Interpal has a number of successful fundraising channels in addition to its mail and online campaigns. Tens of thousands of people in the UK make a regular financial contribution towards its work and many thousands more sponsor orphans and needy children on a regular giving scheme. Vital funds are received from mosque and street collections and through live TV appeals. Interpal also receives funds in return for providing and organizing volunteer stewards at events such as
IslamExpoand the Global Peace & Unityevents. As a seller of fair trade products, Interpal helps developing communities in the Gaza Stripand the West Bank.
Administration costs and policies
Interpals policy is not to deduct administration costs from specified donations. Administration costs for the past 7 years have been less than 10% of the total annual budget, and they are met from the following sources;
* Donations into the administration account
* Unwanted interest money
* Tax reclaimed from British
Inland Revenueschemes such as Gift Aid.
Facts and figures
* Interpal's child sponsorship programme covers over 40 committees linking over 10,000 needy Palestinian children to donors all over the world.
* In 2006 Interpal had a gross income of over £5.2m
* Interpal is currently the largest charity in the UK working solely on the provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians
thumb|200px|A family in receipt of anInterpal sponsored food parcel.
* In 1996 allegations were made against Interpal and its
Trusteesin the " Sunday Telegraph", however the "Telegraph" issued the following apology and retraction on 29 November 1997.
"On 26 May 1996, in an article entitled "London fatwa backs suicide bombers", we suggested that the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (INTERPAL) was run by Hamas activists who encourage and support terrorist activities in Israel. We also reported claims which were being investigated by the Charity Commission that INTERPAL was used to raise money to fund the training of suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank.
We now accept that the Trustees of INTERPAL are not Hamas activists. We also accept that the Charity Commission's investigations found there to be no evidence of any pro-terrorist bias in the charity or of any channelling of its funds towards the training of suicide bombers. The Commission concluded that the charity is a "well run and committed organisation which carries out important work in a part of the world where there is great hardship and suffering" and that INTERPAL takes every possible step to ensure that its donations go only to charitable purposes, helping the poor and needy.We withdraw the allegations that appeared in our article and apologise to the Trustees of INTERPAL for the embarrassment caused."
* On 22 August 2003 the
United States Treasurypublished a list of charities it alleged to have links to terrorism, this list included Interpal whom it said aided Hamas. The Publication of this list led to the charities assets being frozen on August 26 and a full investigation by the Charity Commission. The investigation lasted five weeks and Interpal was cleared of any illegal activities, while the US did not supply any actual evidence to the Charity Commission for England and Wales. After the Board of Deputies of British Jewsrepeated this allegation, it was sued by Interpal. The parties settled out of court, with the Board of Deputies making a public apology and posting the statement on its website for 28 days. The statement on their Web-site concluded:
..We referred to “terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Interpal”. We would like to make it clear that we should not have described Interpal in this way and we regret the upset and distress our item caused.
The UK Charity Commission found Interpal had no links to terrorism, stating "The American authorities were unable to provide evidence to support their allegations". [cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldhansrd/vo031006/text/31006-05.htm#31006-05_head0|title=Lords Hansard, Column 18, Interpal: Charitable Status|date=6 Oct 2003|publisher=
Hansard|accessdate=2007-03-24] [cite web|url=http://www.gnn.gov.uk/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.asp?MediaDetailsID=38335|title=Charity watchdog closes inquiry into Interpal|date=24 September 2003|publisher=Charity Commision|accessdate=2007-05-07] Despite this, U.S. President George W. Bushblocked the charity's bank account and declared Interpal a "specially designated global terrorist" organisation. Ministers agreed to talks after the intelligence services advised them to look again at the issue.
Ibrahim Hewitt, the chairman of Interpal, said:
"It is a matter of record that whenever allegations of illegal activity have been made in the past and then subjected to objective scrutiny, Interpal has invariably been given a clean bill of health.
Interpal is a British charity and operates in accordance with English Law under the supervision of the Charity Commission, which means that aid is given to beneficiaries purely on the basis of need, not political or religious affiliation.
Regrettably, there are many who want to stop the little charitable support we give from actually getting to needy Palestinians. We believe we are targets of the Israeli and US governments purely because we are a Muslim-run charity."
* On 6 January 2006 the "
Wall Street Journal" reported that a suit was filed by an individual in the BrooklynFederal Court in New Yorkagainst the NatWest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotlandfor providing banking services to Interpal, claiming that the group has been identified as linked to terrorism. NatWestis hoping to have the charges, which it claims are spurious and absurd, dismissed.Fact|date=February 2007
* On 15 January 2006 the "
Sunday Telegraph" [ Melissa Kite and Patrick Hennessy, [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/15/ngall15.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/01/15/ixnewstop.html "Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity"] ,"The Telegraph", January 15 2006] reported that Zvi Heifetz, Israel's ambassadorto London, would hold urgent talks with Ivan Lewis, the Economic Secretary to the Treasuryand a Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, in order to demand action be taken against Interpal after George Gallowayentered the reality televisionshow " Celebrity Big Brother UK" to earn money for his charity of choice, Interpal. Interpal reacted to the claims by issuing a statement saying "Regrettably, there are many who want to stop the little charitable support we give from actually getting to needy Palestinians. We believe we are targets of the Israeli and US governments purely because we are a Muslim-run charity".
* On 2 July 2006, "
The Jerusalem Post" also issued an apology to Interpal regarding a defamatory article it published. [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1150885904469&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull "Correction/Apology: Interpal"] , " The Jerusalem Post", July 02 2006]
* On 29 July 2006 the
BBC"Panorama" programme investigated to find out how Interpal's donations have allegedly helped build support for Hamas, which is regarded by Europe and America as a terrorist organisation. It claimed that Interpal was funding organisations that proclaimed a "jihadist ideology", and that there were personal links between Interpal's chief trustee and Hamas figures.
* On 20 March 2007 Interpal’s bank accounts with British bank
NatWest/ Royal Bank of Scotland(who Interpal have had a mutually beneficial banking relationship with for over a decade) were closed by the bank, which cited pressure from the US legal system as the reason. The suit, filed in the federal court in Brooklyn in January 2006, made claims on behalf of 15 families of Americans wounded in attacks. It said NatWest, owned by RBS, allowed Interpal to raise funds on its website knowing the US government identified the charity as a fundraiser for Hamas, violating US anti-terrorism laws.
Interpal categorically denies it is helping to build support for the Hamas movement behind the banner of humanitarian aid. Interpal has on several occasions been the subject of investigations by the Charity Commission in the UK, and was cleared on all occasions. [cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060206/text/60206w03.htm#subhd_11|title=Commons Hansard, Column 772W, Interpal|date=6 Feb 2006|publisher=
Hansard|accessdate=2007-03-24] The head of the Charity Commission said on the "Panorama" programme that the presenting journalist had raised some "pertinent" issues concerning the organisation's links to Hamas that should be investigated, and on January 04, 2007the Commission "reiterated its 1996 conclusion that Interpal is 'a well run and committed organisation which carries out important work in a part of the world where there is great hardship and suffering'." [http://www.interpal.org/news/Interpal_And_The_Charity_Commission.html]
* [http://www.interpal.org Interpal Website]
** [http://www.interpal.org/news/wins_libel_case.html Wins libel case ]
* [http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/js672.htm US Designates Five Charities Funding Hamas] , including Interpal
* [http://www.bond.org.uk/sector/gsd/interpal.htm Bond: advocacy for interpal]
** [http://www.bond.org.uk/sector/gsd/gsdsymons2.htm Letter to Baroness Symons]
* [http://www.epolitix.com/EN/Forums/INTERPAL/home.htm epolitix: Interpal ]
* [http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=1663 IHRC - Interpal ]
* From the
** [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3100452.stm (BBC - Muslims fight on over banned charity)]
** [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3190872.stm (BBC - Interpal under the microscope)]
** [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4564784.stm (BBC - Top Jewish group 'terror' apology)]
* [http://www.osamasaeed.org/osama/2006/01/no_investigatio.html Interpal have no case to answer, Rolled-up trousers blog]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5209466.stm (BBC - Panorama reiterates strong links between Interpal and Hamas]
** [http://www.iwitness.co.uk/comment/0806c-01.htm A rebuttal of Panorama's documentary]
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