German court affirms Turkish IHH ban because of Hamas ties (JERUSALEM POST) By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT 04/22/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
BERLIN – A federal court in Germany upheld the Interior Ministry’s
ban on the Frankfurt-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms
and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) because the Turkish NGO contributed
funds to Hamas.
Hamas is recognized by the European Union, Israel and the United
States as a “terrorist organization” and Leipzig’s Federal
Administrative Court found that the IHH donated money to the group.
The NGO challenged the decision of Germany’s former interior minister
Thomas de Maizieres, who outlawed the IHH in July 2010. He said at
the time that the IHH “fights against Israel’s right to exist.”
Maizieres added that “organizations that operate from German soil,
directly or indirectly, with the aim of fighting Israel’s right to
exist, have forfeited their right to freedom of association.”
The IHH helped sponsor the 2010 flotilla, a convey that sought to
break Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The
Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara was intercepted by Israeli naval
commandos, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish and one
Turkish-American activists, and injuries to Israeli sailors.
According to the Federal Administrative Court ruling, “the IHH sent a
significant amount of collected money over a long period of time to
the Islamic Society and the Salam Society for Relief & Development.
These social organizations, which are active in the Gaza Strip, are,
according to the Federal Interior Ministry, part of the overall
structure of Hamas.”
The court concluded that Hamas engages in “terroristic actions and
violence” against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Reinhard Marx, the attorney representing IHH, told the daily
Tagesspiegel on Thursday that the “decision sends a catastrophic
decision signal to the Muslim community” because it denounces charity
as support for terrorism. Marx, a Frankfurt- based attorney who
specializes in international law affecting foreigners, claimed that
the IHH has provided support for 3,200 Palestinian orphans in 2009
since Israel’s Cast Lead offensive in Gaza sought to stop Hamas
The German court viewed IHH’s “social engagement” as a way to enable
Hamas to recruit activists, who would function as terrorists, and
strengthen its organizational and political legitimacy in Gaza.
The court justified its IHH ban as based in precedent, referencing a
2004 Leipzig court decision that upheld the prohibition on the NGO Al-
Aksa. “Although the top members of the IHH were aware of the court’s
decision, the now-banned organization took over its activity and
sought to conceal its activity. The IHH made clear that it identified
with the Hamas and its acts of violence,” the court wrote.
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy told The Jerusalem Post when the
2010 Interior Ministry ban was issued that “with great satisfaction
we have noted the German government’s decision to outlaw IHH, the
terror organization that was behind the Gaza flotilla.” (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 04/22/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY