The Altoto Lamal Association, also known as the Volunteer for Hope association, was founded two years ago. The organization claims to provide various services to youth, children, women, people with special needs, marginalized families and those in distress.
The association is a registered organization in Israel, headquartered in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem. Its activities serve Arab residents from East Jerusalem, including neighborhoods of Jerusalem located beyond the security fence.
The association is part of a network of social, civic and nonprofit organizations operating within Jerusalem – some of which are incorporated in Israel – that work to advance the goals of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.
In doing so, the organization hosts and supports various PA activities in Jerusalem, abusing the freedom of association in Israel and the rights granted to all residents, regardless of religion or race.
Such activity also constitutes a blatant violation of the political agreements between Israel and the PLO, by virtue of which the Palestinian Authority was established. Additionally, these activities are in violation of a law passed in the Israeli Knesset in 1994 (during Yitzhak Rabin’s tenure as Prime Minister of Israel) that prohibits PA activity in Jerusalem, without the prior approval of the Israeli government.
In recent years the PA, through its activists and organizations working on its mission, has focused on trying to establish alternatives to the services provided by the Israeli authorities to Arab residents of Jerusalem, including in the fields of education, welfare and health. In order to surreptitiously promote the prohibited activities and to undermine Israel’s authority and sovereignty over Jerusalem.
In February 2020, the Israeli authorities ordered the closure of the association for six months on the grounds that its organizers were suspected of being in contact with senior officials of the Palestinian Authority. The grounds of the organization were searched, police seized property, including 3 computers and a mobile phone, and questioned the director of Volunteer for Hope in an ongoing investigation into the organization’s activities.
Furthermore, the director of the association, Slyvia Abu Laban, has previously been photographed with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at a meeting he held with the heads of civil society groups in Jerusalem.
Defend Jerusalem is waging a legal war against the Volunteer for Hope association for engaging in illegal activities in promoting the goals of the Palestinian Authority.
The association has repeatedly violated the law, serves as a cover for illegal activity, acts contrary to its recorded goals, and even tries to mislead the Registrar of Associations regarding its purpose and activities.
We intend to investigate, expose and dissolve any foundation that supports those that threaten peace in the holy city and the right of Israel to exist.
Defend Jerusalem has issued a legal notice within the Israeli court system with the aim of investigating and ultimately dissolving the Volunteer for Hope association.
We have inquired whether the Ministry of Internal Security has initiated action against the association and its officials and whether any steps have been taken to file for the dissolution of the association have been initiated by the Attorney General or Registrar of Associations.
Defend Jerusalem intends to initiate a full inquiry into not just the association, but also its officers, directors and employees.
Our legal team has uncovered at least one previous restraining order issued against the organization for violations of the law in connection with its activities under the auspices of the PA. Our inquiry requests that all violations perpetrated by and actions leveled against the Volunteer for Hope association be made public.
We demand that the association be immediately disbanded for masquerading its activities as a social services organization while continuing to facilitate illegal activity, sabotage Israel and threaten Israeli sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem.