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Israellycool Makes the News

Well kind of. We are directly responsible for a news item at least.

You will recall that I posted about a death notice in the West Australian newspaper that expressed sympathy for the death of a Hamas terrorist. Well, this generated much interest and I had been in contact with a number of parties interested in finding out the identity and whereabouts of the “Hamas Support Group WA”, including the Australian Jewish News and someone who works for Labour Member of Parliament Michael Danby.

This article was published this morning on news.com.au:

The Australian Federal Police and ASIO are believed to be investigating a support group for militant Palestinian organisation Hamas operating out of Western Australia.

Senator Michael Danby is pushing for inquiries into the advert.

Authorities were alerted to the organisation known as the Hamas Support Group WA after a death notice was placed in The West Australian newspaper for Ismail Abu Shanab, a senior Hamas leader killed in Gaza late last month.

The advertisement that ran on August 27 read: “Sincere sympathy to family, friends and Hamas. Freedom fighter. Hamas Support Group WA.”

Federal Attorney-General Daryl Williams refused to comment on the group, except to say “authorities are conducting ongoing investigations into links between people and organisations in Australia and overseas of relevance to national security”.

“We are not going to comment about what ASIO may or may not have an operational interest in.”

The head of the General Palestinian Delegation in Australia, Ali Kazak, said he was not aware of the organisation. “I was in Perth a couple of months ago and I never heard of any group like this,” Mr Kazak said.

“That doesn’t mean there are not people sympathetic to Hamas because they do lots of charitable works.”

But the only Jew in federal parliament, Michael Danby, has put questions on notice to Mr Williams asking if the federal Government knows about the group and if it has called in the authorities to investigate.

“We need to be seriously looking at this,” the Labor member for Melbourne Ports said. “When we get sensible and clear evidence, we need to be quick off the mark.”

Mr Danby said it was becoming obvious that some of the extremist groups in the Middle East, including the Lebanese organisation Hezbollah, were a “clear and present danger to Australia”.

The FBI and the CIA have linked Hamas to the Saudi-based charity Human Appeal International, claiming some of its funds raised are siphoned off to pay for terrorist activities.

HAI has a branch in Sydney but denies any links to Hamas. One of Australia’s largest Islamic charities, it said it raised $2.6 million last year for refugees and orphans.

Mr Kazak said the federal Government should introduce regulations forcing charities to register with a central body and detail activities.

It is illegal to raise funds for Hamas in Australia, but the organisation itself is not proscribed.

Despite the terrorist wing of Hezbollah being banned in June, terrorism experts said it was too late because many organisations including Hezbollah were already well entrenched in Australia.

I have also been informed that a leading West Australian Jewish community leader may be making a statement about this group. I will keep you all posted.

Update: I may have jumped the gun. A close friend, who works for Michael Danby, had this to say about the source of the information:

In terms of the content, we first heard about it because we got an annonymous fax of the actual death notice, and a day later, a copy of the page from the West Aust, again without reference. We then did a search of the group through our networks, and came across your website as the only place in the world apart from the West Aust where it was mentioned.

It is at least good to know that I helped. I just hope they catch these guys, if they do, in fact, exist.

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