UNITED NATIONS - A United Nations agency transferred thousands of dollars to a Palestinian Arab charity affiliated with terrorism long after Israel warned of the terror connection, though the U.N. publicly claimed payments to the organization had stopped.
The blunder points to trouble inside the U.N. Development Program, a huge operation headed by Mark Maloch Brown, who has recently been appointed Secretary-General Annan's chief of staff, largely for his organizational skills and his ability to handle the press. The U.N. plans to launch an internal probe as a result of the revelations uncovered by The New York Sun.
According to a UNDP letter that was seen by the Sun, the agency transferred the sum of $6,000 to an account in the Jenin branch of Cairo Amman Bank in September 11, 2003. The account belongs to the Jenin Zaka, or charity committee.
A subsequent letter from UNDP, dated October 3, 2003, written in Arabic and addressed to the head of the Jenin organization, actually states that the transfer was a mistake and demands a return of the funds. 'It was transferred to your account by mistake,' the letter states, adding that the money 'was intended for the Tul Karem Charity Committee.'
Both committees were identified by the Israeli Defense Force as part of a charity network affiliated with Hamas, the terror organization that has boycotted the recent election in the Palestinian Arab areas. The head of the Jenin committee, Ahmed Salaatnah, spent time in Israeli jails between 1993 and 1995 for terrorist activities in the Izz a Din al Kassem, the operational military branch of Hamas responsible for a chain of suicide bombings.
The money transfers in the fall of 2003 are interesting because it was made clear to the head of the UNDP office in Jerusalem, Timothy Rothermel, by the IDF four months earlier that the charity organizations were fronts for Hamas.
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