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Stop funding Palestinian group or face lawsuit, Australian charity told

SYDNEY (JTA) – An Israeli legal group is threatening to sue an Australian charity unless it stops funding a Palestinian not-for-profit organization alleged to be “an active arm” of a terror group proscribed under Australian law.

Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center alleges that World Vision Australia has been indirectly distributing more than $1 million of Australian taxpayers’ money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. World Vision Australia, which distributes funds in Gaza from AusAID, the government’s foreign aid agency, denies the charges.

Shurat HaDin this week released a dossier of what it called “conclusive evidence” to World Vision and issued an ultimatum to the Christian charity: Cease funding by Oct. 15 or face legal action in the Federal Court of Australia for breaching the Charter of the United Nations Act.

The Israeli legal group claims that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which World Vision has been funding since 2005 to help thousands of Palestinian farmers in Gaza, “was established by, is controlled by, shares assets with and operated in concert with the PFLP.”

Tim Costello, the chief executive of World Vision Australia, said his organization had “no interest in supporting terrorism.”

“I can assure you that if such evidence [of ties to the PFLP] is forthcoming, we will not hesitate to act swiftly upon it,” Costello wrote to Shurat HaDin lawyers.

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