The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) express its deep concerns regarding the Co-operative Bank’s decision to close Friends of Al-Aqsa’s bank account.
The centre urgently request that the Co-operative Banks reopen Friends of Al-Aqsa’s bank account, on the basis that no legitimate reasons have been provided for ending a 10-year long banking relationship. The fact that this bank has closed the account of several other Palestinian human rights organisations is also deeply concerning.
Co-operative Bank’s explanation for closing Friends of Al-Aqsa’s bank account exposes three major issues that the Coop needs to address if it desires to restore credibility that this was not a discriminatory and arbitrary decision. Firstly, the Co-operative Bank wrongly labels Friends of Al-Aqsa as charity while it is instead an NGO / political campaign group. Secondly, the Coop hasn’t provided any specific legal obligations it is adhering to by closing FOA's account. Thirdly, the Coop hasn’t made public any of its research’s findings that they have conducted into FOA which led to the decision to close the account.
Friends of Al-Aqsa have never contravened any laws or regulations, their account has never been overdrawn and has not incurred any penalties. Therefore, this decision seems clearly political rather than business orientated. This is in clear contravention of your professed goals of championing human rights and operating ethically. We call on the Co-operative Bank to urgently reopen Friends of Al-Aqsa’s account, in order to restore public confidence.