Union of Good
The Union of Good (UG) (Arabic: ائتلاف خير, Itilaf al-Khayr), also known as the Charity Coalition, is an umbrella organization consisting of over 50 Islamic charities and funds which funnel money to organizations belonging to Hamas, which currently rules the territory of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which characterizes itself as an "Islamic resistance movement against Israeli occupation" is also on the US State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Union of Good was blocked by Israel from operating in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002, then banned in 2008. The United States Treasury designates the Union of Good as supporting terrorism under Executive Order 13224 in November 2008. It was founded in May 2001 and is based in Saudi Arabia.
The Union is chaired by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, an Islamist cleric close to the Muslim Brotherhood. Initially he founded a "Campaign of 101 Days" in October 2000, immediately after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, with the involvement of the Hamas leadership.
The organization has provided funding to Hamas charities in the Gaza Strip for food packages, school-equipment, civic buildings and support for families of people "martyred" in suicide bombings or fighting Israeli forces.
According to the Israeli government, following are some of the prominent societies and funds that form the Coalition:
- International Islamic Relief Organization, IIRO (Saudi Arabia)
- Holy Land Foundation (US)
- Al-Aqsa Islamic Charitable Society Yemen, headed by Mohammed Ali Hassan Al-Moayad
- Interpal (UK)
- IHH (İnsani Yardım Vakfı) (Turkey)
- "Palästinensische Vereinigung in Österreich, PVOE" /"Palästinensischer Humanitärer Verein, PHV" (Austria)
- World Assembly of Muslim Youth
- al-Aqsa Foundation
In 2009 the Charity Commission for England and Wales, after an investigation, ordered Interpal to dissociate itself from membership of the Union of Good. In a follow up the Charities Commission concluded that Interpal had complied with that order.
The Union of Good is designated by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, which allows the US to block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
- Islamic charitable funds / The Union of Good Special Information Bulletin of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center February 2005
- Defense Minister signs order banning Hamas-affiliated charitable organizations 7 Jul 2008
- The Terror Finance Flotilla The convoy of ships allegedly trying to bring aid to the Gaza Strip was organized by a group belonging to an officially designated terrorist organization. BY Jonathan Schanzer The Weekly Standard May 31, 2010
- Treasury Designates the Union of Good US Treasury, November 12, 2008
- The Union of Good – Analysis and Mapping of Terror Funds Network Shabak
- Levitt, Matthew; Dennis Ross (2007). Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. Yale University Press. pp. 58–9. ISBN 978-0-300-12258-9.
- Inquiry Report - Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal) (Report). Charity Commission. 26 February 2009. http://offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/NewsAttachments/NST/interpal09.pdf. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- Specially Designated Global Terrorist list