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Israel dubs UK charity 'illegal Hamas affiliate'

Israel's defence ministry accuses British pro-Palestinian charity of planning violent activity against Israel in Europe

AFP, Tuesday 28 Dec 2010
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Israel's defence ministry has designated a British pro-Palestinian charity an illegal Hamas affiliate, accusing it of planning "violent activity against Israel in Europe."

The designation, which was made earlier this month but announced on Tuesday, accuses the London-based Palestinian Right of Return Centre of serving as "Hamas' organisational branch in Europe.

"Its members are senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement's agenda in Europe, and directly interact with various Hamas leaders, particularly from Damascus," a statement published on the Israel Defence Forces website said.

"The Centre is involved in initiating and organising radical and violent activity against Israel in Europe, while de-legitimising Israel's status as a nation among the European community," the statement added.

It accused the group of promoting Hamas' agenda, hosting members of the group, including its fundraisers, and publicly airing speeches by top Hamas leaders.

An Israeli defence ministry spokeswoman was unable to immediately explain what the practical implications of the designation were, and whether Israel would seek a similar designation of the group from the British government.

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