Italian Hamas proxy banned from fundraising by online payment systems


The Jerusalem Post watch: Italian Hamas proxy cannot fundraise for Gaza through any credit-card platforms or online payment systems. The Charity Association for Solidarity with the Palestinian People (ABSPP) in Italy has been fundraising for Hamas activity, according to a recent report by Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry.

In November, the Post tried to proceed with donations through PayPal, an American multinational fintech company operating an online payments system. Following an inquiry by the Post, the link has since stopped working and says: “This organization does not meet the conditions for accepting donations at this period of time.”

Since then, and after numerous inquiries to credit-card companies and American bodies dealing with sanctions and regulations, all credit-card companies have banned ABSPP from using their services.

On Tuesday, ABSPP’s Facebook page publicized a request for funds: “This is an urgent call for help from the people of Gaza. We will receive your donations through our bank account.”

Their official donation page has also been changed and will only offer bank transfers via Crédit Agricole Italia, the parent company of the Crédit Agricole Italia banking group.

Up until recently, ABSPP also offered donations through Stripe, Inc., which is an Irish-American company that primarily offers payment-processing software and application programming interfaces for e-commerce websites and mobile applications.

A smartphone with the PayPal logo is placed on a laptop in this illustration taken on July 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Reflects findings of 2009 shin Bet report

In response to the Post’s request for comment in November, a Stripe representative said: “I’ve escalated this internally so that we can investigate the business and [find out] if it breaches our Services Agreement based on the information you have given.”

“Due to privacy reasons, we can only share the information of the outcome with the business,” Stripe said. “The privacy of businesses who use Stripe is of the utmost importance to us… Stripe takes fraud extremely seriously, and we do have extensive safeguards in place which are constantly improving. We will take appropriate action if it’s deemed necessary after our investigation. If it looks like we didn’t take action, it’s because we found sufficient evidence that the business is following our Services Agreement, but I can assure you our investigations are thorough, and we take every flag seriously.”

That said, Stripe currently does not appear as an option for ABSPP donations.

In response to an inquiry from the Post in November, a PayPal representative said: “PayPal devotes significant resources globally to combat illicit activities, including terrorist financing. Our team of financial crime experts uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and manual investigative work to not only detect, but also to prevent illicit activity. We take this responsibility very seriously.”

PayPal did not elaborate on that it had cut ties with the Hamas-affiliated organization.

Mohamad Mahmud Ahmad Awad Hanun, who established ABSPP, has been listed in Israel as a member of a terrorist organization, according to Israel’s Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.

ABSPP was a member of the Union of Good coalition. The Union of Good was designated in Israel and the United States in 2008 as a terrorism enabler due to allegations of channeling funds to Hamas. In 2021, the ABSPP accounts were closed due to suspicious transactions.

“Hanun posted in March 2019 that Abu Laila was murdered by the ‘Zionist-Nazi army,’” the report detailed, referring to Omar Abu Laila, who was killed while carrying out a deadly attack against Israelis. It further described how Hanun eulogized teenage terrorists in Jerusalem through a song glorifying their violent acts.

Hanun also holds a senior position in the European Palestinian Conference, established by the Palestinian Return Centre, which was declared (in 2010) as being part of Hamas’s European section. Over the years, prominent Hamas figures, including Ismail Haniyeh and Basem Naim, have participated and spoken at their annual conference. Senior members of the Fatah movement linked the conference to Hamas and have called for its boycott.

Furthermore, ahead of the conference held in Copenhagen in 2019, pro-Fatah Palestinian sources reported that Iran had sponsored the event, providing €350,000 to Hamas’s European leadership to fund the participants’ travel, with Hanun being specifically named as the representative in Italy.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) published a report in 2009, addressing what it called the formation of “The Financial Coalition” for Hamas, with its main headquarters in Saudi Arabia.

This coalition, according to the report, has essentially established a diverse economic consortium that brings together various Islamic charity foundations and organizations operating across the Western world and in Arab countries. These include the Italian “ABSPP Foundation,” the Austrian “PHV” and “PVO Foundations,” the Belgian “Al Ikaz Foundation,” the “Holy Land Foundation” in the US (until its declaration as illegal in 2001), and many others.