Charity Commission criticises Interpal response

Palestinian aid charity claims it is 'vindicated' by report from regulator, which responds that there was insufficient evidence

The Charity Commission has criticised Palestinian relief charity Interpal for claiming it had been "vindicated" by the commission's inquiry into allegations that it had funded organisations involved in terrorism.

The inquiry found that there was not enough evidence to support the allegation, made in a 2006 edition of the BBC's Panorama programme, that many of Interpal's local partner organisations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories promoted and supported Hamas (Third Sector Online, 27 February).

An Interpal response said it had been vindicated by the finding and called on the commission to "revisit" its direction for Interpal to break its links with the Union for Good group of organisations working in the cccupied territories.

Ibrahim Hewitt, chair of Interpal, said: "We note that the commission has also made suggestions to improve some of our procedures. We are, and always have been, ready to implement Charity Commission guidance."

But Andrew Hind, chief executive of the commission, criticised the tone of Interpal's statement and said it failed to acknowledge the remedial action the trustees are now required to take.

"Our report does not give the charity a clean bill of health," he said. "The commission has formally directed the charity to end its membership of the Union for Good, an organisation that has had designated entities - because of concerns about possible terrorist links - among its membership.

"The charity must also ensure that no trustee has any office or role within the Union for Good, and it must strengthen its due diligence and monitoring of its local partners."

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The Interpal statement

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