- For other uses of the term al-Aqsa, see al-Aqsa.
The al-Aqsa Foundation is an international charity. The head office of the foundation was located in Germany until it was closed by the German authorities in July 2002. The organisation is known to have local branch offices in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Pakistan, South Africa, Yemen and elsewhere.
The al-Aqsa Foundation has been described by the United States as a "critical part of Hamas' transnational terrorist support infrastructure" and has said that it "uses humanitarian relief as cover to provide support to the Hamas terrorist organization". Hamas is designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (66 Fed. Reg. 51088) and as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224, "Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons Who commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism." According the U.S., Hamas is known to raise at least tens of millions of dollars per year throughout the world using charitable fundraising as cover.
In May 2003 the al-Aqsa Foundation was designated by the United States Department of the Treasury as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order 13224. As a result of this designation, all assets of the al-Aqsa Foundation are blocked and transactions with the organization are illegal. Other nations, including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Switzerland, have also taken action against the al-Aqsa Foundation.
On 3 April 2003, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs adopted the Sanctieregeling terrorisme 2003 (terrorism sanctions order), freezing all the funds and financial assets of Stichting Al-Aqsa, a foundation under Netherlands law describing itself as an Islamic social aid institution financially supporting various organisations in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip involved in humanitarian emergencies, on the ground that transfers of funds by Al-Aqsa were destined for organisations supporting terrorism in the Middle East, including Hamas. An application for interim measures, seeking to suspend the Sanctieregeling, was dismissed by the competent national court.
In September 2010, the General Court considered that verification of the existence of a decision of a national competent national authority is an essential precondition for the adoption of an initial Community decision to freeze funds, while verification of the action taken at national level following that decision is indispensable in the context of the adoption of a subsequent Community decision to continue the freezing of funds. In that context, the General Court found that, since repeal of the Dutch 'Sanctieregeling' in, neither the Sanctieregeling nor the order on the application for interim measures, the legal effects of which depend on the existence of the Sanctieregeling, may validly serve as the basis for a Community measure freezing Al-Aqsa’s funds. The Council should have held that there was no longer any “substratum” in national law justifying to a sufficient legal standard the maintenance of the Community measure. Therefore, the General Court annulled the contested measures in so far as they concern Al-Aqsa.
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Brussels, Belgium
- San‘a’, Yemen
- Malmö, Sweden (see Al Aqsa Spannmål Stiftelse)
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Islamabad, Pakistan
- "Treasury Designates Al-Aqsa International Foundation as Financier of Terror - Charity Linked to Funding of the Hamas Terrorist Organization" (Press release). United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Public Affairs. 2003-05-29.