A lawsuit has been filed in a US court seeking to stop non-profit groups from sending billions of dollars worth of tax-exempt donations to support illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli army. A group of American citizens filed the suit on December 21 against the US Department of Treasury, claiming about 150 non-profits have sent an estimated $280bn to Israel over the past two decades.
The lawsuit claims the donations were “pass-throughs” and “funnels” to support the Israeli army and the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. In the US Internal Revenue Code, these organisations are identified as “501(c)(3)”, and donors are given tax-exempt status and allowed to claim a tax deduction on their gift.
Sheldon Adelson, an American casino magnate, and several other wealthy pro-Israeli businessmen were named in the lawsuit as donors but not as defendants.
The Treasury Department declined to comment on the suit, stating in an email to Al Jazeera: “We don’t comment on pending litigation.” Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist who put her name on the 73-page lawsuit, said it is about seeking justice for the Palestinian people.