Court action against alleged Palestinian terror front postponed

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Shurat HaDin – the Israel Law Center has agreed to postpone litigation against an Australian charity it accuses of being a front for a Palestinian terror organization.


It had given World Vision Australia until Oct 15 to stop funding the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which it claimed in a dossier released last week “was established by, is controlled by, shares assets with and is operated in concert with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

But World Vision Australia – which has since 2005 aided the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza with more than $1 million from AusAID, the federal government’s foreign aid agency – denied the charges and said it had “no interest in supporting terrorism.”

On Sunday, Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief executive Peter Wertheim brokered talks between representatives of both parties.

“Several ideas have been put forward with a view to achieving a resolution of the issues,” Wertheim said Monday in a statement.

While the ideas are under discussion, Shurat HaDin has agreed to postpone launching any legal proceedings, the statement said. Both parties were urged not to make any further public comments while mediation is underway.

Shurat HaDin had threatened to launch action in the Federal Court of Australia under the Charter of the United Nations Act, an Australian law that makes funding a proscribed terror organization a crime.

“I can assure you that if such evidence [of ties to the PFLP] is forthcoming, we will not hesitate to act swiftly upon it,” wrote World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello to Shurat HaDin lawyers late last month.

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