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1.20.2006
  Galloway Funding HAMAS With His 'Big Brother' Money
The Israeli embassy last night became the latest critic of George Galloway after it denounced him for choosing Interpal as his nominated Big Brother charity, claiming it is a front for Palestinian terrorists.

Zvi Hefetz, the Israeli ambassador, is expected this week to discuss his government's concerns about the London-based charity with Ivan Lewis, the Treasury minister, when he could raise the issue of Mr Galloway's high-profile support for it.

The MP's appearance on the Channel 4 program has brought a wave of derision, particuarly when he impersonated a purring cat and dressed as Count Dracula.

When the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow entered the house, he made clear his support for Interpal, saying: "Many will eat in the Gaza Strip because I tried," adding the charity did "not get many opportunities to raise serious amounts of money".

However, UK ministers are coming under increasing pressure to ban Interpal. In August 2003, the US administration claimed it was "a principal charity utilised to hide the flow of money to Hamas", branded it a "specially designated terrorist" organisation and froze its assets in America.

But in the same year, the UK's charity commission conducted its second formal inquiry and again found no evidence to back claims against Interpal, which says it "focuses solely on the provision of relief and development aid to the poor and needy of Palestine".

However, The Herald was told the Israeli government is so concerned money donated to Interpal is finding its way to Hamas – whose "terrorist wing" is proscribed by the UK government – that it has raised the issue with Tony Blair.

Mr Galloway, 51, could earn about £100,000 for the charity and possibly more if he wins.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli ambassador said it was "extremely sad" the Respect leader was using his television appearance to raise funds that found their way to Hamas.

Asked if what Mr Galloway was doing was wrong, she replied: "Of course. It's very sad. There are so many important humanitarian projects you can donate money to. But to give money to Palestinian terrorists... this isn't acceptable."

The spokeswoman added the Israeli government was "extremely concerned" about Interpal and had raised the issue "with all levels of the UK government". Asked if that included the prime minister, she replied: "I said all levels."

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi-born Faria Alam has sparked a race row in the Big Brother house by claiming the British public would not allow a non-white person to win the show.

The 39-year-old former FA secretary, who is favourite to be evicted from the house today, said: "Do you think they'll ever let a black or Asian girl or guy win this thing? Are you out of your tree? This country? They would never, they'd be up in f***ing arms."
 
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