Australia suspends funds to World Vision

August 5, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Australian Government has suspended the provision of further funding to World Vision for programs in the Palestinian Territories until an investigation is complete on the diversion of funds to Hamas.

The allegations that a locally employed World Vision employee in the Gaza Strip has diverted aid funds from a range of international donors and provided support to Hamas are deeply troubling.  World Vision has received Australian funds for programs in the Palestinian Territories.

Statement-on-the-arrest-of-World-Vision’s-staff-Mohammad-El-Halabi-_-World-Vision-International-2016-08-05-13-24-41

World Vision Statement in June

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is investigating this as a matter of the highest priority.  Officials are urgently seeking more information from World Vision and the Israeli authorities.

DFAT has in place rigorous processes to investigate any report that aid funding has been misappropriated, consistent with DFAT’s Fraud Control and Anti-Corruption Plan.

DFAT’s said: “Australia’s aid to the Palestinian Territories is intended for vital humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian community.  Any diversion of the generous support of the Australian and international community for military or terrorist purposes by Hamas is to be deplored and can only harm the Palestinian people.”

The Embassy of Israel in Canberra has released a statement saying : “The arrest of Mohammed El-Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of the international humanitarian aid organization World Vision, highlights the ongoing threat that innocent Israeli’s continue to live under. El-Halabi was arrested on suspicion of serious security offenses carried out for the terrorist arm of Hamas, and of exploiting his visits to Israel for that purpose.

Dispatched by Hamas in 2005 to infiltrate World Vision El-Halabi used his position to benefit the Islamist terrorist organization, primarily by providing logistical support and diverting funds meant as aid in order to strengthen Hamas’ terrorist arm.

As El-Halabi advanced in the charity’s hierarchy he was appointed director of the Gaza branch. In this capacity, he controlled the budget, equipment and aid packages which amounted to millions of dollars.

El-Halabi employed a sophisticated and systematic apparatus for transferring World Vision funds [60% of the charity’s annual budget, according to El-Halabi] to Hamas. This involved exploiting humanitarian projects and fictitious agricultural associations that acted as a cover for the transfer of funds to Hamas.

The humanitarian aid donated for the residents of the Gaza Strip was in actual fact given almost exclusively to Hamas terrorists and their families. Non-Hamas members almost never received any benefit from the aid, whilst senior members of the terrorist organisation pocketed funds for personal use.

El-Halabi’s statements portray a troubling picture in which international institutions in Gaza are in fact controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas. The Embassy of Israel in Australia welcomes the Australian government’s decision to suspend further funding to World Vision programs in the Palestinian territories until the investigation is completed.

It is evident that Hamas continues to exploit international humanitarian aid and resources intended to aid needy residents of the Gaza Strip but which is in fact diverted to Hamas for use in strengthening its terrorist and military capabilities. By its own actions, Hamas is harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, displaying its destructive priorities concerning Gaza.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported:

“Mohammed El-Halabi (from the village of Jabalya, b. 1978), director of the Gaza branch of the international humanitarian aid organization World Vision, was arrested at the Erez Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on 15 June 2016. He was detained on suspicion of serious security offenses carried out for the terrorist arm of Hamas and of exploiting his visits to Israel for that purpose.

During the investigation, El-Halabi revealed that he has been a Hamas member since his youth and had undergone organizational and military training in the early 2000s.

In 2005, Hamas dispatched El-Halabi to infiltrate World Vision. El-Halabi related that Hamas believed that he had a good chance of infiltrating the humanitarian aid organization because his father works for the UN and he himself had worked in UNDP. In the latter capacity, he had employed “farmers” in areas close to Gaza’s border with Israel who in fact acted as lookouts for Hamas.

He added that his father, Halil El-Halabi, who has served as head of UNWRA’s educational institutions in the Gaza Strip for years, is a member of Hamas and uses his position as a UN employee to help the terrorist organisation.

Shortly after being employed by World Vision, El-Halabi began to use his position to benefit the Islamist terrorist organization, primarily by diverting funds meant as aid to strengthen Hamas’ terrorist arm.

Over the years, El-Halabi advanced in the charity’s hierarchy until he was appointed director of the Gaza branch. In this capacity, he controlled the budget, equipment and aid packages which amounted to tens of millions of dollars.

World Vision International published statement on FB

World Vision International published statement on FB today

El-Halabi employed a sophisticated and systematic apparatus for transferring World Vision funds [60% of the charity’s annual budget, according to El-Halabi] to Hamas.

He established and promoted humanitarian projects and fictitious agricultural associations that acted as cover for the transfer of monies to Hamas. Examples of these projects and associations include: greenhouse construction; restoration of agricultural lands; mental health and public health projects for Gaza residents; aid to fishermen; a treatment center for the physically and mentally disabled; and farmers’ associations. All of these projects and associations were used to transfer funds to Hamas.

The money allocated by World Vision for projects and farmers’ associations reached Hamas in various ways, such as the false registration of Hamas terrorists as employees in charity-sponsored projects; issuing fictitious receipts and inflated invoices in which the difference paid by the charity was transferred in cash to Hamas; transfer of the charity’s checks to Hamas terrorists, etc.

The investigation revealed that the main method used to divert money to Hamas was to put out fictitious tenders for World Vision-sponsored projects in the Gaza Strip. The “winning” company was made aware that 60% of the project’s monies were to be designated for Hamas. In this way, El-Halabi ensured a steady flow of cash into Hamas coffers.

According to El-Halabi, the funds he diverted to Hamas were intended mainly to strengthen the terrorist arm. As such, they were utilized to finance the digging of terror tunnels [not meant for smuggling but for attacks on communities in southern Israel and on Israeli security forces)], the building of military bases such as one code-named “Palestine” [built in 2015 entirely from British aid money] and the purchase of weapons.

Some of the money went to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists and, in some cases, senior Hamas terrorists took large sums of money for their own personal use.

El-Halabi also used World Vision resources to provide logistical aid to the terrorist arm of Hamas. This, too, was the result of a sophisticated, well-oiled system that succeeded in transferring 60% of the humanitarian organization’s resources in Gaza to Hamas.

El-Halabi regularly transferred to Hamas equipment that he had ordered on behalf of World Vision, supposedly for agricultural aid. The equipment included, inter alia, iron rods, digging equipment, pipes and building materials, and was used in fact to construct Hamas military outposts and to dig terror tunnels.

Just as El-Halabi exploited the humanitarian projects that he initiated in order to divert funds to Hamas, he also arranged for the provision of logistical support to Hamas. For instance, he initiated a greenhouse project in order to use the greenhouses to hide the sites where terror tunnels were being dug. In addition, a project for the rehabilitation of [fictitious] fishermen was actually used to provide motor boats and diving suits for Hamas’ military marine unit.

Another regular method of acquiring equipment for Hamas was to disguise Hamas warehouses as World Vision warehouses. Trucks bringing supplies to the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would unload their goods at Hamas warehouses instead of legitimate World Vision warehouses. Hamas operatives would pick up the supplies in the dead of night.

According to El-Halabi, the humanitarian aid donated for the residents of the Gaza Strip was in actual fact given almost exclusively to Hamas terrorists and their families. Non-Hamas members almost never received any benefit from the aid, despite their relative level of need. Needless to say, this is in contradiction to the accepted practice of the humanitarian aid organizations.  Every month, El-Halabi distributed thousands of packages of food, basic commodities and medical supplies to Hamas terrorists and their families, commodities that World Vision had intended to go to the needy.

This humanitarian aid was diverted by El-Halabi to Hamas terrorists also during the conflict of summer 2014 [Operation Protective Edge]. During the fighting, the terrorists received food packages to sustain them above and below ground, including in terror tunnels.

In addition to the financial and logistical aid that El-Halabi provided Hamas, he also exploited his visits to Israel, which were permitted due to his legitimate work for World Vision, to engage in serious terrorist activity – locating and marking [via GPS] sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels.

The investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in the Gaza Strip who exploited their work in organizations, including humanitarian aid organizations and UN institutions, on behalf of Hamas. El-Halabi’s statements portray a troubling picture in which UN institutions in Gaza are in fact controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.

In summary, the facts uncovered during this important investigation illustrate, above all else, Hamas’ cynical exploitation of international humanitarian aid and resources donated by Western nations that are intended to aid needy residents of the Gaza Strip but which, in fact, are being diverted to Hamas for use in strengthening its terrorist and military capabilities. By its own actions, Hamas is harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, displaying its destructive priorities concerning Gaza.”

 

 

Comments

11 Responses to “Australia suspends funds to World Vision”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    David, if you accept that the Australian Government studiously averted its gaze, why do you reject the suggestion that World Vision not only averted its gaze, but actually collaborated. World Vision considers Israel to be the bad guy that is oppressing the Arab heroes who fight for the deletion of Israel.

    • david singer says:

      Speculating for speculation’s sake is not really worthwhile.

      • Leon Poddebsky says:

        Well, then, why do you think that “the Australian government studiously averted its gaze,” as you wrote?

        • David Singer says:

          The allegations made against World Vision in 2012 were vigorously denied in detail by World Vision and no doubt would have been regarded as sufficient for the Government to not further investigate.

          JWire published Tim Costello’s detailed rebuttal:
          http://www.jwire.com.au/world-vision-answers-shurat-hadin/

          Now with one person charged and before the Israeli courts the matter has become far more serious.

          The Australian Government’s decision to suspend grants to World Vision until this latest investigation is finalised is appropriate.

          Further judgement should be reserved until the person charged has his day in Court.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    My previous post on Sunday was delete concerning Gaza and Rev Costello’s statement. Why?

  3. david singer says:

    Have any other donors of humanitarian aid for Gaza besides World Vision been similarly caught up in this mess?

    The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) department’s Dec. 2014 Fact Sheet titled “Palestine,” available from ec.europa.eu, states:

    “EC funding for Palestine in 2014 stands at €33.6 million [about $40.7 million US in Dec. 2014], benefiting more than two million Palestinians. Almost a quarter of the funding has been allocated to legal assistance to families living in Area C and East Jerusalem [in the West Bank], emergency response to demolitions and evictions, and coordination with other humanitarian partners.

    Out of the €33.6 million, €25.6 million [about $31 million US in Dec. 2014], has been made available to support emergency operations of key humanitarian partners in Gaza… ECHO’s overall assistance in Gaza in 2014 will reach around 800,000 people.”

    Hope the EU is conducting an urgent audit to ensure the veracity of these statements.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      David, what makes you think that the EU cares to what purposes its largesse is applied by the Hamas government?

      • david singer says:

        Leon

        The EU like World Vision Australia would be devastated to learn that its funds donated for humanitarian assistance could have possibly been diverted to Hamas.

        The Australian Government was warned in 2012 and 2015 this was happening but chose to ignore the warnings and avert its gaze.
        http://israellawcenter.org/in-the-media-items/shurat-hadin-world-vision-rejected-our-warnings-about-funding-hamas-terrorism/

        • Leon Poddebsky says:

          David, it is implausible that World Vision is naive to the degree that it would be unaware of the nefarious activities of its staff.
          Even if one wants to be charitable, and assume naivete, if the allegations are proved, their negligence will be seen to be literally criminal because it
          will have constituted large-scale material assistance to the perpetrators of multiple murders and other inhuman acts.

        • Leon Poddebsky says:

          David, Avi Dichter said that World Vision knows that its funds go to Hamas.

          • david singer says:

            I would just like to see the proof first.

            The allegations and charges are of course very serious and raise all kinds of suspicions about aid being channelled into Gaza from donors world wide.

            This story has a long way to run.

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