A petition to the Israel High Court of Justice filed on Thursday afternoon, which names Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer as respondents, alleges that both the Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Defense are using political pressure to force two Israeli banks, Israel Discount Bank and Bank Hapoalim, to transfer cash to the Hamas-run government, defined by the governments of Israel, Canada, the United States and the EU as a terrorist group and located in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza banks have run out of funds and are unable to replenish cash supplies.
Both Israel Discount Bank and Bank Hapoalim announced in Oct. 2007 they no longer will work with the financial institutions in Gaza because of the terrorist nature of the Gaza regime.
Since then, Mr. Fischer, a former vice-president of CitiGroup, and Mr. Barak have placed immense political pressure on both banks to continue the transfers. The proposed $100 million shekel transfer, which is the equivalent of $25 million, is the largest sum demanded of them.
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The petition notes the likelihood that much of the funds will be siphoned off for use by the terrorist led government in Gaza to continue its attacks on Israeli civilian targets. It also points to violations of Israeli and international law providing financial services to banks in Gaza would entail. In recent years, banks in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia have been sued by terror victims for aiding the terrorist groups by providing them and charities affiliated with them financial services.
“The government might as well be providing truck loads of Qassam rockets instead of cash to Gaza. Fischer and Barak have knowingly allowed for the transfer of 100 million shekels, $25 million to the Hamas-run government providing for at least 22,000 terrorist paychecks,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin Law Center. “How is it possible that our government continuously supports those which aim to destroy us?”â€¨
Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center ( www.israellawcenter.org ) is a Tel Aviv-based lawyers’ organization that utilizes legal proceedings and lawsuits to fight the scourge of international terrorism. Shurat HaDin sues to obstruct and economically harm the terror organizations, their leaders and their financial patrons on behalf of terror victims. In the past, the organization has successfully frozen funds of numerous terrorist organizations and is currently in litigation with American Express Bank, Bank of China and UBS.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com.