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US civil rights group challenges tax-exempt status of pro-settler organizations

April 1, 2009 9:55 A.M. (Updated: April 1, 2009 9:55 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - A US civil rights group has filed several official complaints challenging the tax-exempt status of groups raising funds for the development of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) filed the complaints on 27 March with the US Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calling for investigations into the activities of several organizations.

Among other allegations, the ADC is alleging that these groups are using funds in violation of their stated purpose "and to support illegal and terrorist activities abroad," according to an ADC statement.

"The construction of settlements in occupied territory is illegal under international humanitarian law. The use of tax-exempt status to raise funds for these types of activities is also illegal under US law," the ADC said.

The ADC also noted that stated US policy is against all forms of settlement activity. Every US president since Jimmy Carter has criticized Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Most recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Israeli government initiatives to expand these settlements.
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