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The Charity Commission has removed Viva Palestina, the aid charity founded by the Respect MP George Galloway, from its register of charities, and has ordered Galloway’s spokesman, Ronald McKay, to prepare and provide accounts for the charity for the years to 2012... Viva Palestina, also known as Lifeline for Gaza, was founded as a fundraising appeal by Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford West, in January 2009, and ran a number of aid convoys to take food and supplies to Gaza. The organisation was registered as a charity in April 2009, but has never filed accounts with the commission. The commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in July this year, and last month removed it from its register because it "does not operate"... ["Commission removes Galloway's Viva Palestina from the charities register", ThirdSector, November 5, 2013]As charities go, it has an odd story. Take away the headlines it earned for various anti-Israel stunts and there appears to be less there than meets the eye. For instance, three years ago it was reported that Galloway's "charity"
was mismanaged and raised less than a fifth of the £1m it claimed to have raised, according to a Charity Commission inquiry report published yesterday [source]Wikipedia's account of what it actually did for Gaza has a bizarre air to it. A Viva Palestina convoy departed London in December 2009, arriving nearly two weeks late. Then:
Scuffles broke out between members of the convoy and Egyptian police in Al-Arish after part of the convoy was barred from entering Gaza. On 6 January 2010 at the Rafah border, during solidarity protests held by Palestinians in Gaza awaiting the convoy's arrival, violence erupted resulting in the hospitalisation of at least three Palestinians and the death of an Egyptian policeman... On 8 January George Galloway was deported from Egypt and declared persona non grata. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit described the aid convoy as "farcical" and said the country would no longer allow such solidarity convoys into the Hamas-run coastal area. [Wikipedia]Galloway has been especially irritating to others lately too. Most recently
The Respect party no longer has any councillors in Bradford after they all resigned, accusing George Galloway of defamation and lack of transparency. The five councillors, elected in a surge of local support for Respect last year, temporarily resigned in August but have now left the party altogether. [BBC, October 25, 2013]