UK Charity facilitating donations and Gift Aid to fund destruction of humanitarian aid heading to Gaza: Charity Commission must investigate 

London 29th May 2024 – The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) have submitted a Complaint to the Charity Commission concerning UK Toremet, a UK registered charity that allows UK taxpayers to donate and send Gift Aid to organisations based in Israel. The Complaint alleges that UK Toremet may be violating UK and international law by allowing three organisations (UK Toremet ‘end user organisations’) involved in the blocking and destruction of humanitarian aid enroute to Gaza to use the platform to raise funds.  

Im Tirtzu, Tzav 9, and Torat Lechima are UK Toremet ‘end user organisations’ who have specifically fundraised, from UK donors and using UK Gift Aid, for the disruption of humanitarian aid intended for Gaza. Im Tirtzu is an Israeli-non-governmental organisation who in February reported intercepted 3000 trucks containing aid for Gaza. At the same time, UK Toremet was providing services to Im Tirtzu and allowing it to collect Gift Aid from UK donors. 

Similarly, Tzav 9, an unregistered Israeli organisation, was reported by the BBC to have been responsible for blocking aid trucks, destroying food packages and ripping bags of flour and emptying the contents onto the roads in the occupied West Bank. Torat Lechima is an Israeli registered charity who provides supplies to the IDF and takes part in the wrecking of aid heading to Gaza. Torat Lechima issued a joint statement with Im Tirtzu stating that they “cannot allow…[their] government [to] supply the enemy with power and food.” 

These moves come at a time when major UN organisations including the UN World Food Programme have warned of imminent famine in Gaza and major human rights organisations have concluded that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. ICJP has also submitted an 800-page dossier to Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit addressing Israel’s suspected use of ‘starvation as a method of warfare’. The complaint is believed to be one of the most comprehensive complaints submitted to Scotland Yard in relation to Israel’s plausible risk of genocide in Gaza. The potential support of aid destruction by British donors and UK Gift Aid is all the more damning in this context. 

These specified UK Toremet ‘end user organisations’ could be directly facilitating the intentional starvation of the people of Gaza, a war crime under the Rome Statute. UK Toremet is not only in violation of the Charity Commission guidelines but likely to be in violation of international law. The Charity Commission must investigate the conduct and legality of this organisation and ensure it is not in violation of UK legislation and international law, as it is responsible for ensuring that UK registered charities abide by the law and guidelines set by the Charity Commission. 

Legal Officer Mira Naseer said:  

“It is already unconscionable that hundreds of thousands are at risk of starvation in Gaza, and aid must not only get through a cynically constructed barrier of red tape by Israeli forces, but also survive mobs of extremists whose sole intention is to prevent the people of Gaza from receiving the life-saving aid that they are in dire need of. 

But it is beyond the pale that UK donors and even UK Gift Aid may be used to fund this inhumanity. UK registered charities must follow the guidelines of the Charity Commission and the law. Yet, UK Toremet has been left unchecked, facilitating organisations that may well be committing war crimes – potentially using UK taxpayer money.”  

  1. The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law. 
  1. BBC report can be found here.   
  1. Links to: Im Tirtzu, Tzav 9 (organisation does not have a website), and Torat Lechima. 
  1. For more information, to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, or to view a full copy of the letter, please contact the ICJP news desk at [email protected]