Friday, November 14, 2008
Union of Good has Hamas Ties?
A Dallas, Texas jury has gone into deliberation following closing arguments in a landmark case that will determine if the Holy Land Foundation is a legitimate charity organization for Palestinian Authority schools or a front to fund Hamas terrorism. Last year, the case ended in a mistrial.
Prosecutor Barry Jonas told the jurors to make their decision without political considerations. "You are not going to decide who is right and who is wrong in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," he said.
Jonas replayed for the jury videos of Hamas fundraisers, including songs and lyrics that glorify Jihad. "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck," he declared. "This was a Hamas rally. Who are we kidding?"
"They were part of a larger plan to eliminate the State of Israel and take over their land," Jonas charged. "By supporting Hamas, they helped create widows and orphans. Find them guilty."
Defense lawyers pleaded that the $12 million given by Holy Land to PA schools was earmarked for relief work for Arabs "under Israeli occupation," a phrase that prosecutors said was being used to distract jurors from the evidence.
Holy Land lawyer Theresa Duncan argued that stressing the "occupation" was not a distraction but an essential part of the argument that the funds were provided as a "religious obligation" to help people suffering stress.
"This case has always been about charity," she said. "This case is not about exploiting needs for a political agenda."
Jonas responded that the government believes in supporting charity, but "the bottom line is: it's illegal to give money to Hamas."
Although the United States has declared Hamas a terrorist organization, Holy Land officials never "advocated for the destruction of Israel," according to Duncan.
In a separate case, the Treasury Department ordered a freeze on Wednesday on any funds allocated for the Union of Good charity organization, which "acts as a broker" for Hamas, according to officials.
Government officials charged, "Some of the funds transferred by the Union of Good have compensated Hamas terrorists by providing payments to the families of suicide bombers."