During Monday`s meeting of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to discuss the new anti-terror bill, a representative of the Shin Bet (General Security Service) gave a comprehensive review of the methods in which terrorist groups operate, and also briefed the committee on the fundraising methods of welfare and charity organizations. According to him, the latter are defined as shell organizations that support terror.
”Initially, only the parent organizations – such as the PLO and Hamas – were declared as terrorist organizations. After that, by the end of the 90s, we understood that these secondary organizations act as shell organizations and support Hamas and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. Dozens of organizations were declared as organizations that were supporting Hamas and the Islamic Movement. The third phase is declaring online networks as terrorist organizations. There is a network of organizations spread out in dozens of countries, and they communicate online,” he explained.
The Shin Bet official added that ”various religious and welfare institutions are looking to increase their support of terror organizations, to serve their military infrastructures and raise the next generation. For example, let`s take a look at the Bani Na`im charity organization in Hebron. Even if the building doesn`t say Hamas, everyone who comes in knows who the owner is. The Palestinian Return Center in London is also run by Hamas, and is acting to delegitimize Israel with activities such as BDS. There is also a London-based fund that was declared an unrecognized organization and is funding Hamas.”
The official continued to say that ”the idea is to have these shell organizations fund expensive activities, beginning at the kindergarten level all the way up to murderous military actions. These organizations are the main source of income for terrorist organizations. Hamas receives vast support from these organizations, under the cover of charity and welfare. These organizations are fueling the terrorist organizations, and their terminology is also the same terrorist terminology”.
The debate focused on the definition of these shell organizations and who is considered a member. It was suggested to declare two kinds of terrorist organizations: those which perform acts of terrorism (including the civilian branches of these organizations) and organizations that support them (shell organizations).
It was suggested that every organization that supports terror be considered a terror organization, regardless of whether it has any connection to Israel. The consequences of this classification are the same for both types of terror organizations.
There are practical and immediate consequences to classifying an organization as a terror organization, as the state could impose administrative limitations on it. According to the proposal, courts would be authorized to confiscate any property of a terrorist organization in a civil procedure (following conviction). In addition, the Minister of Defense may issue a temporary order to confiscate the property of a recognized terrorist organization. This order may become permanent. He may also issue a temporary order (for 90 days, with an option for an extension) to seize the property of an undeclared organization, when a request to declare it as a terrorist organization has been submitted. In addition, an organization declared as a terrorist organization is subjected to activity prevention orders and restrictions on the use of structures orders.
The committee will continue to discuss the bill next week.