HSBC blocks payments to Palestinian relief charity Interpal

Interpal has condemned HSBC bank for blocking standing order payments to the charity “in the middle of a deadly pandemic and in the month of Ramadan.”

The charity, which provides relief to needy Palestinians, said that HSBC’s decision was “immoral and harmful to poor people at their most vulnerable,” and that the “management at HSBC should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for collaborating in this dishonourable practice.”

Interpal made the statement after a donor, Shiplu Miah, posted a letter on social media that he had received this month from HSBC. We understand that similar letters have been sent out to other HSBC customers who are donors to Interpal.

“We’re writing to let you know that from the 17th of May 2020 we’re no longer going to process standing order payments to the UK charity Interpal (the working name for the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund),” the letter read.

“As part of a global bank sometimes we may decide to prevent certain transactions even if they are allowed under local laws. We recognise you may be disappointed with this decision and we’re sorry for any inconvenience it may cause.”

Over the years Interpal has been repeatedly targeted by the pro-Israel and other media over terrorism accusations which have proven to be false.

In 2003 the U.S. Department of Treasury designated Interpal as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization” without providing any legal evidence. Interpal says the designation is a nonsense and continues to operate legally as a charity in the UK after the authorities cleared it of any wrongdoing.

However, it is believed that the U.S. designation has caused several banks to stop providing services for Interpal.

HSBC shut down the bank accounts of two other Muslim charities – Islamic Relief and Ummah Welfare Trust – in 2014; as well as the prominent Muslim activists Anas Altikriti and Azzam Tamimi.

Responding to HSBC’s decision, Interpal said: “HSBC has not specified why this decision has been taken, although it does point out, and rightly so, that donations to Interpal do not contravene ‘local’ — British — law. This is more than disappointing for us, our donors and indeed our beneficiaries in the field given that HSBC has chosen the middle of a deadly pandemic and the month of Ramadan to block these payments.

“It is a time when British Muslim communities are at their most generous and ready to help people in desperate need who need even more support due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. It is a disgrace that a major bank should take such a decision at this time.

“Interpal is a UK-registered charity which cooperates fully with the authorities at home and within its areas of operation; allegations of wrongdoing have been shown to be false following several independent investigations. The Trustees and dedicated staff of Interpal are extremely disappointed that a legitimate British charity is denied vital services to appease those who act on behalf of an alien state to prevent humanitarian aid getting to the Palestinians.

“Such efforts to politicise the charity sector are immoral and harmful to poor people at their most vulnerable. The management at HSBC should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for collaborating in this dishonourable practice.

“Over the course of the past 25 years, Interpal has upheld the highest ethical standards in its humanitarian endeavours and complied fully with local and international law. Staff in the UK and overseas continue to work at full capacity to ensure that donations reach vulnerable families across our areas of operation whilst we adapt to the changes necessary to continue with our work and address ongoing campaigns attempting to block aid from reaching Palestinians in need.

“We call upon our donors and supporters to stand with us at this time and make every effort to ensure that attempts to damage the charity and harm our brothers and sisters in occupied Palestine and beyond do not succeed.”

For anyone wishing to switch their standing order to an alternative method of payment, you may call Interpal’s Donor Care Team on: 0208 961 9993 or email: donations@interpal.org.

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