NatWest closes Interpal Bank Accounts
Friends of Al-Aqsa condemns the decision of NatWest Bank to close the account of the charity Interpal.
This decision will affect the lives of thousands of Palestinians who are already facing starvation due to Israels occupation policies and the international sanctions that have been placed against this entire population over the past year. This amounts to even greater collective punishment of the Palestinian people, stated Ismail Patel.
NatWests unwarranted decision to close the accounts of (UK Charity) Interpal is set to establish a dangerous new precedent for UK Charities and banks
The Decision by Nat West/Royal Bank of Scotland to close the accounts of Interpal after more than 12 years of exemplary banking, has been a huge shock to staff; trustees and beneficiaries.
It is Interpals belief that this act is likely to be viewed by the Muslim community and the supporters of Interpal both as a discriminatory act against beleaguered Palestinians and as a blatant act of Islamophobia. It is believed that such an unwarranted step can only work against the interests of Nat West in the UK.
The closure is likely to cause untold disruption to Interpals delivery of humanitarian assistance to the beleaguered Palestinian people in occupied Palestine, Lebanon & Jordan and comes at a time when the hardship and destitution in the region has reached an unprecedented level. Importantly it is likely to deprive 6,000 Palestinian children of their monthly relief assistance for many months to come.
Given its long standing relationship with Nat West, Interpal is deeply saddened that they have decided to bow unnecessarily to the pressures from the US and to effectively impose punitive restrictions on relief support to the Palestinian people at a time of greatest need. This decision by Nat West overlooks the legal position of the British judicial system in this regard and crudely ignores the fact that Interpal has been given a clean bill of health on several occasions by the UK Charity Commission following a series of in depth investigations proving the right end use of its charitable funds.
We found no evidence in the charity of any pro-terrorist bias, or indeed bias of any kind [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. Charity Commission 1996
This action has sent alarm bells throughout the humanitarian community and suggests that other banks may follow the lead of Nat West in closing bank accounts of legitimate charitable bodies supporting Palestinians in need, for reasons of political expediency. This will only add to the collective punishment of the suffering Palestinian people.
It goes without saying that Interpals ability to establish alternative full international banking arrangements will be substantially hampered at this particular time while a Charity Commission Inquiry is underway.
Friends of Al Aqsa is a voluntary organisation concerned with the defence of
Al Aqsa Haram Sharif and the protection of Palestinian Human Rights.
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