Reports released Thursday following two-month investigation; Hamas agent confesses to redirected over 60% of humanitarian aid to Hamas military efforts
Hamas infiltrated the Christian-based, international non-profit organization ‘World Vision”, systematically laundering millions of dollars of humanitarian aid and donations to the terrorist organization’s military wing over several years.
The breaking news was only released Thursday following an ongoing two-month investigation by Israel’s Internal Security Organization (Shin Bet).
The regional director of operations for World Vision, Mohammad El Halabi, a resident of the Gaza Strip, was responsible for systematically redirecting millions of dollars to Hamas, Halabi reporting over 60% of donations designated to the region as having been stolen to support the terrorist organizations’ efforts, estimating around $7.2 million annually.
Halabi’s indictment includes “12 charges of security related offenses such as transferring information to an enemy entity, membership in a terrorist organization, multiple violations of the law prohibiting the funding of terrorism and contact with an enemy agent, among other charges.”
The Shin Bet made the discovery after interrogated Halabi in June when he attempted to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip. Halabi confessed to having been a member of Hamas since his youth, officially recruited in 1994 and later recruited as an agent for the terrorist organization’s military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, to infiltrate the organization in 2005.
According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, majority the stolen funds were directed to the military wing’s efforts, including tunnel construction, rocket and arms sales, militants’ salaries and a reported Hamas military base that was constructed in the Gaza Strip.
A reported “40% of the funds designated for civilian projects ($1.5 million/year) were given in cash to Hamas combat units” with funds “designated for the needy in Gaza ($4 million/year) were diverted to Hamas for the construction of terror tunnels and the purchase of weapons”. A reported “$80,000 received from the United Kingdom went to construction costs” of a Hamas military based, which was code-named “Palestine”. Over $250,000 designated funds for “food packages” was redirected to Hamas militants, with a reported $264,000 stolen from funds donated for “3,300 packages of cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products”.
Halabi reported that funds were directly stolen to support Hamas’s terror tunnel construction, as well as funds to feed militants in the tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Halabi took advantage of his permission to visit Israel often given his position as regional director of World Vision. He reportedly would locate “sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels”.
World Vision released a statement reporting that “Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true,” claiming that the organization has been subject to “regular internal and independent audits, independent evaluations, and a broad range of internal controls aimed at ensuring that assets reach their intended beneficiaries and are used in compliance with applicable laws and donor requirements”. World Vision announced that it “stands by Mohammad who is a widely respected and well regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.”
They claim that “World Vision subscribes to the humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality and therefore rejects any involvement in any political, military or terrorist activities and maintains its independence as a humanitarian aid agency committed to serving the poor, especially children. World Vision has detailed procedures and control mechanisms in place to ensure that the funds entrusted to us are spent in accordance with applicable legal requirements and in ways that do not fuel conflict but rather contribute to peace.”