WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The following is a statement from IRmep:
The US Department of Treasury has no program to combat massive flows of US tax-exempt charitable contributions into illegal settlement building. Despite ongoing public revelations of wrongdoing, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has never investigated or even discussed US charitable organizations with proven ties to rampant illegal settlement building in the West Bank.
In 2005, former Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson discovered quasi government entities diverting funding into West Bank colonies considered illegal under both Israeli and international law. On March 18, 2005 the Jewish Daily Forward reported that US nonprofit organizations had controlling ties to the World Zionist Organization which was deeply involved in coordinating illegal settlements:
"Embarrassed leaders of American Jewish organizations were absorbing the news this week that an international body under their control was at the center of a tangled Israeli scheme, detailed in a bombshell government report, to build illegal settlement outposts in violation of Israeli law, policy and international commitments.
The international body, the World Zionist Organization is described in the report as a pivotal player in the scheme, in which midlevel officials in various government ministries secretly channeled funds and resources to the illegal West Bank outposts."
In 2005 USA Today cited then vice premier Shimon Peres estimating that Israel had spent approximately $50 billion on settlements since 1977. Other quoted Israeli government officials put the figure closer to $60 billion.
The US Treasury Department finally responded to a September 27, 2007 Freedom of Information Act request and appeals filed by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, IRmep. Mailed April 13, 2011 Treasury claims making a "comprehensive search of files" stating:
"Unfortunately, we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records pertaining to...internal reports about Treasury Department investigations triggered by public revelations that U.S. charitable funds flows are used to illegally confiscate Palestinian lands and commit crimes overseas…Meeting minutes of key Treasury Department officials charged with combating money laundering conducted in Israel and the U.S. dealing with the Sasson report money laundering issues especially those with a focus on U.S. … organizations managing WZO money laundering."
The Israel Lobby Archive, http://IRmep.org/ila, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.