Ya'alon Outlaws Jerusalem 'Charity'

Defense Minister outlaws the "Jerusalem for Development" charity, cites its operations to assist Hamas in eastern Jerusalem.

Uzi Baruch ,

Hamas rally in Ramallah
Hamas rally in Ramallah
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday outlawed the "Jerusalem for Development" charity as "a legal front for Hamas activities in east Jerusalem", his office was quoted by AFP as having said.

The charity belongs to the radical northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement, the leader of which, Sheikh Raed Salah, has a long history of violence and incitement.

He was jailed for five months in 2010 for spitting at an Israeli police officer; last year, he labeled Israeli leaders “terrorists” and “enemies of Allah” in a speech to Muslims in Be’er Sheva. 

Recently, he was given a suspended eight month sentence in March for incitement regarding the Temple Mount.  A senior police officer on Sunday accused the Islamic Movement of being behind much of the latest unrest in the Temple Mount as well.

The Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), which recommended that Ya’alon outlaw the "Jerusalem for Development" charity, said that the organization clearly chooses to assist Hamas activists, and thus strengthens the grip of Hamas in Jerusalem and helps fund Hamas projects in eastern Jerusalem.

The Shin Bet also noted that the charity allows Hamas activity in Jerusalem while operating under the guise of the Islamic Movement, which is a legal movement in Israel, unlike Hamas.

The Islamic Movement is actually banned in several Muslim states and has also been involved in the violent "Nakba Day" protests opposing Israel's existence.

The noose has tightened on both Salah and the movement itself as in recent months, with the Israeli government beginning discussions in May on whether to declare the Islamic Movement in Israel's northern branch an illegal organization and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowing in June to blacklist the group.