LONDON - Israel Government on Wednesday banned the British charity from continuing its operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, claiming it has financial links to Hamas. Interpal, an organisation also known as the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund being run by the left wing British MP George Galloway was designed in 1994 with the stated aim of alleviating the needs of Palestinians in a number of countries including Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Since 1996, however, it has faced questions from Israel and the US about its funding network and alleged connections to the Palestinian activists. The group has not replied to Israel's decision yesterday, which comes about after an investigation into its finances, although it has strongly denied wrongdoing in past cases. In December 2006, it emerged that George Galloway MP had chosen the charity to benefit from text votes generated in his name during the three-week Channel 4's famous Celebrity Big Brother series. At the time, Galloway released a statement, which read: "Every smear against them has fallen away and the truth about their work amongst some of the most oppressed people on the Earth has prevailed." Announcing Israel was banning Interpal, Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, issued a statement listing it among 36 charities in Israel and the Palestinian territories that have ties to what he called terror groups. A military spokesman added that the army was acting "against charitable organisations acting on behalf of Hamas."