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Funding Evil: US sued over donations for illegal Israeli settlements

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US sued over donations for illegal Israeli settlements

By Ali Younes

A lawsuit has been filed in a US court seeking to stop non-profit groups from sending billions of dollars worth of tax-exempt donations to support illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli army.

A group of American citizens filed the suit on December 21 against the US Department of Treasury, claiming about 150 non-profits have sent an estimated $280bn to Israel over the past two decades.

The lawsuit claims the donations were “pass-throughs” and “funnels” to support the Israeli army and the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In the US Internal Revenue Code, these organisations are identified as “501(c)(3)”, and donors are given tax-exempt status and allowed to claim a tax deduction on their gift.

Sheldon Adelson, an American casino magnate, and several other wealthy pro-Israeli businessmen were named in the lawsuit as donors but not as defendants.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the suit, stating in an email to Al Jazeera: “We don’t comment on pending litigation.”

Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist who  put her name on the 73-page lawsuit, said it is about seeking justice for the Palestinian people.

“I want those organisations that aided Israel to be forced to pay restitutions for victims impacted by their actions,” Abulhawa said.

The lawsuit claims non-profit groups directly contributed to violations of US law and international law, subverted US foreign policy, and contributed to countless crimes and human rights abuses targeting Palestinians.

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“For 30 years at least, the US taxpayer has been funding and/or subsidising criminal activities overseas, ie murder, arson, malicious property destruction, assault and battery and ethnic cleansing and international terrorist acts,” it said.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Martin F McMahon, said the US Department of Treasury should not just end the tax exemption, but should also recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes.

“The lawsuit seeks to hold accountable the tax-exempt entities by revoking their nonprofit status,” McMahon told Al Jazeera.

The lawsuit said: “These charities’ agenda is to rid the West Bank and EJ [East Jerusalem] of all non-Jews, consistent with perceived biblical imperatives. They have been very successful in that endeavour, as detailed herein, primarily because of the Treasury’s abject and long-standing failure to monitor and prevent their criminal activities for at least the last 30 years.”

McMahon said his law firm was working pro bono and is looking for other plaintiffs to join the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names groups including the Falic Family Foundation, FIDF (Friends of the Israeli Defence Force), American Friends of Ariel, Gush Etzion Foundation, American Friends of Har Homa, and Hebron Fund.

The Treasury Department has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit.

“This [Obama] administration, like every administration before it since 1967, views settlement activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace,” the US State Department told Al Jazeera in an email.

“The United States has never defended or supported settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies that would legitimise them.”


Source: Al Jazeera:
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Donald Trump: Ex-President Bill Clinton ‘one of the great abusers of the world’

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests at a campaign rally on December 21, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (AFP photo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests at a campaign rally on December 21, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (AFP photo)


US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has launched new attacks against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, as well as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, calling him “one of the great abusers of the world.”

“She [Hillary] wants to accuse me of things. And the husband’s one of the great abusers of the world. Give me a break,” Trump told a crowd in South Carolina on Wednesday.

“She came out saying [Trump] has a ‘penchant for sexism’… now she is playing with that card,” Trump explained. “I had no choice, but I had to mention her husband’s situation,” a reference to Bill Clinton’s previous sexual relationships during his political career.

The billionaire businessman also stated that Clinton, though she plays the “women card,” isn’t very popular among voters of her gender.

“I’ll tell you who doesn’t like Hillary,” he told the crowd. “Women don’t like Hillary. I see it all the time.”

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Former US President Clinton with wife Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Ames, Iowa, on November 15, 2015.

Tensions have been growing between the two leading candidates in recent days, stemming from Trump’s recent comment that Clinton “got [expletive]” during the 2008 presidential election, when she lost to President Barack Obama.

Clinton then accused Trump of having “a penchant for sexism.”

Since he joined the 2016 White House race in mid-June, Trump’s campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including disparaging remarks about Muslims and Mexican immigrants.

Last month, the billionaire real estate tycoon proposed banning Muslims from entering the US, drawing widespread condemnation both domestically and internationally.

Trump, whose mother immigrated from Scotland and paternal grandparents immigrated from Germany, has also called for deporting all undocumented immigrants from the United States.

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