Closed Hamas 'charities' may go underground

"Hamas will not give up so easily," PA official tells 'Post.' "Most of the charities in question served as private banks for Hamas."

money corruption 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy: SXC)
money corruption 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy: SXC)
The Palestinian Authority's decision to close down dozens of Islamic charities is aimed at preventing Hamas from exploiting these institutions for money-laundering, PA Information Minister Riad al-Malki said Thursday. PA security officials, meanwhile, expressed concern that the decision would prompt many of the affected charities to go underground or to move their activities to mosques. "Hamas will not give up so easily," one official told The Jerusalem Post. "Most of the charities in question served as private banks for Hamas." Malki claimed that the move was not directed solely against Hamas, pointing out that some of the charities were affiliated with Fatah or run by Christian groups. "These institutions are being targeted because they have violated the law," he said. "Some of them were used [by Hamas] for money-laundering, while others had suffered from mismanagement and financial corruption. If Hamas is so concerned about these charities, why didn't it prevent the corruption and money-laundering?" Asked about the timing of the decision to close down some 103 charities, the PA minister said: "Our government did not exist 10 years ago. We have been in office for only two months and because we have promised reforms, transparency and an end to financial corruption, we have decided to open all civilian files." In response to Hamas allegations that the closure would affect tens of thousands of needy families, al-Malki said his government would be responsible for the welfare of the beneficiaries. "The Ministry of Social Welfare will look after all the families," he said. "There won't be one person left without aid." The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed "deep concern" over the closure of the charities. It said the move would "further restrict the role of Palestinian civil society organizations." PCHR noted that the decision was illegal because it violated the 2000 Charitable Societies' Law which stipulates that any organization that is to be closed should be sent a written warrant beforehand. PCHR called for maintaining the status of civil society organizations as a vital element in helping alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians and called on the government of Salaam Fayad to cancel the decision.