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Peace Now Suspected of Financial Scam to Mask Backers

Peace Now is suspected of setting up a financial scam to mask the European sources of its funding.
By Ezra HaLevi and Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/20/2007, 8:35 AM

The Peace Now movement is suspected of setting up a financial scam to mask the European sources of its funding for its reconnaissance work against Israeli Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.

The Non Profit Associations Registrar suspects Peace Now of operating a front organization for improper collection of funds, according to a report on Channel 2 TV by reporter Amit Segal (Segal's report, in Hebrew, can be viewed by clicking here).

The radical left-wing Peace Now group allegedly used a non-profit organization (amuta) called Sha'al, which supposedly dealt with educational matters, to receive and disburse millions of shekels over a period of many years.

Some of the organization's donors were exposed in the course of the inquiry. They include the British government, which donated more that 500,000 shekels, Norway (800,000 shekels) and the European Union, which donated 451,000 shekels earmarked for Peace Now's ongoing "settlement hunting" activity: the documentation of construction activity by Jews in Judea and Samaria.

This is not the first time Peace Now has crossed the lines of legality. In 2004, journalist David Bedein revealed and later the Knesset Interior Committee confirmed that Peace Now had received a budget in the amount of 50,000 Euros from the government of Finland to conduct intelligence activities in Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan, Gaza and Jerusalem. The Israel Penal Code for Espionage was distributed to Knesset Interior Committees, with the third clause defining “photography of sensitive areas of Israel for any foreign power” as an act of espionage, punishable by ten years imprisonment if convicted.

It is not clear whether Segal's report was the result of a new investigative web site dedicated to researching and documenting the group's misdeeds.

The Non Profit Associations Registrar summoned 'Peace Now' to a hearing and instructed them to reply to the allegations by December 31.

Peace Now Calls on US to Talk to Iran
Americans for Peace Now, the Israeli leftist group’s fundraising arm that also engages in anti-Israel lobbying in the United States, urged US President George W. Bush “to open serious, determined and unconditional diplomacy with Iran,” according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Franklin Fisher and Debra DeLee, Chairman and President respectively of the group, sent a letter to Bush arguing that it is in the “best interests of both the US and Israel [to engage in] direct, sustained, and unconditional US-led diplomacy and engagement with Iran to resolve issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program."

“The letter reflects Americans for Peace Now’s longstanding contention that a U.S. policy toward Iran consisting of sanctions and threats of force is insufficient and potentially harmful to the interests of both the United States and Israel,” JTA reported. The letter was sent to all members of the House and Senate, as well as all the US presidential candidates.