WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. government designated an Islamic charity as a supporter of Hamas.
The Treasury Department action against the Saudi Arabia-based Union of Good means that any assets the organization holds under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. Also, Americans are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the charity.
The statement said the leadership of Hamas created the Union of Good late in 2000, shortly after the start of the second intifada, and the charity "acts as a broker for Hamas by facilitating financial transfers" of tens of millions of dollars a year "between a web of charitable organizations and Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza." Some of the funds transferred have compensated Hamas terrorists by providing payments to the families of suicide bombers, according to the Treasury Department.
"Terrorist groups such as Hamas continue to exploit charities to radicalize vulnerable communities and cultivate support for their violent activties," said Stuart Levey, the U.S.under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a Treasury Department statement announcing the action. "The U.S. government will continue to expose and undermine the activties of charities working on behalf of Hamas and other terrorist groups. At the same time, we are working with the charitable sector to expand the range of legitimate alternatives for providing charitable assistance to the Palestinian people."