The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has suspended aid to evangelical charity World Vision’s work in the “Palestinian Territories” following the indictment of the charity’s head in Gaza who was charged Thursday for funneling millions of dollars in cash and provisions to the terrorist Hamas organization of which he is a member.
According to AAP, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is investigating the “deeply troubling” matter.
“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,” a department spokesman told AAP on Friday, adding, “We are suspending the provision of further funding to World Vision for programs in the Palestinian Territories until the investigation is complete.”
According to AAP, Australia allocated World Vision $5 million over five years for agricultural projects and child trauma programs in Gaza.
World Vision Australia chief, Rev. Tim Costello told AAP, “We have absolutely nothing to do with terror. We audit every cent that goes through.”
Apparently not so, according to the prosecutor in Israeli district court in Beer Sheva who on Thursday charged Mohammed El Halabi, the Gaza director of World Vision, of diverting millions of dollars intended for Gaza’s needy to the Hamas projects of digging terror tunnels into Israel, paying the salaries of members of the Hamas military arm, and diverting humanitarian provisions to the Hamas terrorists during the 2014 Gaza war.
“I want to reassure Australians that World Vision’s money in Gaza is being spent on reducing poverty for Palestinian people, not terrorism,” Costello insisted, noting that El Halabi is a well-respected manager.
But according to El Halabi’s confessions to his Shabak interrogators, he has been a member of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, since 2004, and usurped millions of dollars in donations, moving them to the Hamas coffers, diverted humanitarian aid to Hamas terrorists and their families, and transferred to Hamas’s possession thousands of tons of iron rods, digging equipment and plastic hoses, originally intended for agricultural use but in reality utilized by the Hamas tunnel builders.
On Wednesday, Christian Today reported that Mohammad El Halabi, an employee of World Vision (WV), the world’s largest evangelical Christian charity, had been detained on June 15 at the Erez crossing “on his way home from routine meetings” and was being held “without access to legal counsel or family visits,” which is normal fare in Israel with regards to security prisoners.
Last Friday, when El Halabi’s detention had been extended until August Tuesday, Aug. 2, WV’s eastern Jerusalem office released a statement saying, “World Vision 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.”
It should be interesting to see the charity’s response to the charges submitted against El Halabi by the Southern District Prosecution in Beer Sheva District Court Thursday, describing him as Hamas activist who has been using his high position in the charity organization to systematically divert millions of dollars to the military arm of Hamas, financing, among other things, the digging of terror tunnels. The monies, according to Thursday’s indictment, was taken out of funds and resources that had been dedicated to humanitarian assistance to Gaza Strip residents. The indictment includes 12 counts of security violations of passing information to the enemy, membership in a terror organization, funding terrorism, participation in an unlawful association, and contact with foreign agents.
The facts included in the indictment describe El Halabi as having a master’s degree in engineering. A member of Hamas since 1995, in 2004 he joined the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. In 2005 he was hired by WV to carry out administrative assignments at the charity’s Gaza branch. His job provided him with an entry permit into Israel. El Halabi exploited his visits to Israel to locate and mark [via GPS] sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels.
Carrying out his assignments, according to the prosecution, El Halabi usurped millions of dollars in donations that arrived from foreign countries such as the US, Australia, Germany and the UK, and were slated for humanitarian needs, agricultural, education, and psychological support.
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.
Over his many years working for WV, El Halabi transferred to Hamas’s possession thousands of tons of iron rods, digging equipment and plastic hoses, originally intended for agricultural use but in reality utilized by the Hamas tunnel builders and for building military bases such as the “Palestine” military base which was built in 2015 entirely from British aid money. 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. During the war of 2014, Hamas terrorists received WV food packages to sustain them above and below ground, including in terror tunnels.
El Halabi also provided plastic sheets bearing the WV emblem to cover the openings of tunnels, making them look like agricultural hothouses.
According to the indictment, around the year 2012, El Halabi was engaged by Hamas to initiate a greenhouse project, to use 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’s military marine unit.
The Shabak investigation revealed that the main method El Halabi used to divert money to Hamas was to put out fictitious tenders for WV-sponsored projects in the Gaza Strip. The “winning” company was simply informed that 60% of the project’s funds were to be designated for Hamas.
El Halabi told his interrogators that a regular method of acquiring equipment for Hamas was to disguise Hamas warehouses as WV warehouses. Trucks bringing supplies to the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would then unload their goods at Hamas warehouses instead of legitimate WV warehouses. Hamas operatives would pick up the supplies in the dead of night.
According to Shabak, the El Halabi investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in the Gaza Strip who exploited their work for 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 Hamas.
How the Money Was Transferred to Hamas
Some of the money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas terrorists, by fraudulently listing their children as wounded.
Money designated for psychological support, education and health in Gaza ($2 million/year) was used to pay the families of Hamas terrorists.
Part of the WV donations was transferred in cash and recorded fraudulently as aid to needy children.
Monies were paid out as salaries to Hamas terrorists and activists, who were registered as employees of the aid organization when in fact they never worked for WV.
Costs for legitimate infrastructure projects were inflated, with the difference going to Hamas.
Straw companies — two farmers’ associations and a fake charity for the benefit of the injured — were established with false registers to launder money.
Unemployment payments were diverted to Hamas terrorists. El Halabi arranged for one-third of the allowances WV transfers to Gaza for the unemployed to go to members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The terrorists received a larger allowance ($392 instead of $300).
Using lists of fictitious beneficiaries, $2 million a year were designated as aid for farmers and diverted to Hamas activists. El Halabi reported a larger sum than what was actually transferred to the farmers to World Vision. The difference was diverted to Hamas.
Project costs were inflated. For example, WV invested in the construction of 500 greenhouses and the preparation of land (495 acres) for agriculture. El Halabi reported to the charity that the cost was $1,000 per quarter acre, while the real cost was $700. The difference – $300 per quarter acre – was transferred to Hamas.
In their 2014 report titled “Filling in the Blanks — Documenting Missing Dimensions in UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict,” NGO Monitor and UN Watch have cautioned: “The willingness of World Vision workers to openly discuss these issues is exceptional; however, the answers leave little doubt as to World Vision’s willingness to negotiate and coordinate with armed groups. This raises questions as to whether the group would prevent components of its aid from being misappropriated by terrorist organizations, if it felt that taking a stand would jeopardize the organization’s ability to continue its operations in a given area.”
During the Shabbat morning kiddush at a synagogue in Melbourne, Australia, one of the men stabbed his fellow synagogue mates, moderately wounding him in the upper body, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.
The Age reports the attack happened near the Yeshiva Synagogue. Kikar HaShabbat says it happened at the Rambam Synagogue.
According to witnesses, a fight broke out between the two over some herring that one didn’t want to pass to the second. The man then picked up a knife and stabbed the other man, to the shock of everyone else there.
Hatzalah quickly treated the man and he was taken to the hospital.
It’s not only in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that radical Islamist leaders have succeeded in twisting adolescent angst for killing campaigns against Jews and Israel.
Police prevented untold tragedy at two Jewish schools in Denmark this year with the arrest of a teenage Danish girl and an older man.
The 16-year-old and her 24-year-old suspected accomplice were indicted this Tuesday in Denmark (March 8) on charges of planning a terrorist operation against two Jewish schools in Denmark.
Their remand has been extended by the court until March 30. Neither was identified by name.
The girl was arrested in January in the small Denmark village of Kundby on the island of Zealand. She was alleged to be only 15 when she and the older man formulated their plot.
The two had planned to attack the Carolineskolen Jewish private school in Copenhagen, and the Sydskolen public school in the western Zealand town of Fårevejle.
The case will remain behind closed doors as officials continue their investigation, trying to determine whether others were involved in the planned terrorist operations. Prosecutor Peter Ahleson did release some information, however: He told Denmark’s The Local the pair attempted to create TATP (also known as acetone peroxide) for their planned bombing of Carolineskolen.
TATP is the same explosive that was used in the November Paris attacks.
Prosecutor Kristian Kirk added following the hearing that the pair attempted to create the explosives for their planned attack on Sydskolen out of fertilizer, petrol, diesel and other chemicals. Kirk added that police foiled their plot by arresting them, but gave no further details.
In a joint statement, Mid and West Zealand Police and the Danish Security Intelligence Service (PET) said the targeted schools had both been contacted.
The girl is described by Danish media as a recent convert to Islam and reportedly a member of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) group. The local BT tabloid reported that she made it clear on her Facebook page she hoped to convert other Danes as well.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a new organization. The group was founded in 1953 as a Sunni Muslim organization in Jerusalem and today has an estimated worldwide membership of one million. Led by Ata Abu Rashta, the group is particularly active in Western nations and supports the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic State, as does ISIS.
It is not clear whether the two are linked.
The organization is outlawed in Turkey and Germany, which recognized the group’s lethal potential.
Oddly, the group is legal in Australia, the UK, the U.S., Denmark and myriad other Western nations. Hizb ut-Tahrir promotes the overthrow of democracies and dictatorships alike, arguing they are un-Islamic.
As all the others, Hizb ut-Tahrir is also anti-Zionist and calls for the “illegal entity” of the State of Israel to be “dismantled” or “destroyed.”
The group’s Australian leader, Ismail al-Wahwah, called for a jihad against the Jewish people in July 2014, referring to Jews as a “cancerous tumor” that must be “uprooted and thrown back to where it came.”
One very mixed-up Jew from Florida has been indicted for threatening to blow up the 9/11 memorial at Kansas City in two days and for pretending to be a jihadist from Australia.
Joshua Ryne Goldberg, 20, was arraigned Thursday after an FBI investigation.
Reports of his arrest and indictment clearly indicate that he lives in a movie, and a Florida TV station quoted a neighbor as saying that Goldberg rarely was seen outside of his parents’ home.
May God have compassion on his family.
Goldberg posed on the Internet as an ISIS supporter under the moniker “Australi Witness” and encouraged attacks in the United States and other Western countries.
He allegedly distributed pictures of a bomb that he supposedly is making, a device similar to the one used in the deadly Boston Marathon terrorist attack two years ago.
Goldberg claimed online that he works with other ISIS terrorists in Austrlia and the United States.
The Australian Age reported that he “is non-Muslim and no real-world links with extremism.”
The indictment charges him with:
Distribution information pertaining to the manufacturing of explosives, destructive devices, or weapons of mass destruction in furtherance of an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence.
That is pretty heavy stuff for a young man who obviously is a bit mixed-up, but he could serve up to 20 years for his Internet pose.
Court records show that Goldberg was arrested in late August and told a source how to make a bomb and fill it with nails and other items dipped in rat poison.
Special agent William Berry of US Customs and Border Protection said:
Goldberg ….admitted that he believed the information would create a genuine bomb.
He added that the suspect claimed after during the investigation that he planned to warn police before the bomb would go off so he could get credit for stopping a terrorist attack. His social media posting show that he craved attention.
Goldberg previously posed on the Internet as a prominent Australian lawyer, The Age reported.
However, his acting out almost caused an attack. In May, Goldberg under the alias “Australi Witness.” tweeted the address of a Mohammed cartoon exhibition in Texas and urged people to attend “with “weapons, bombs or with knifes.”
When the event was held, two Muslims tried to stage an attack, were killed by police and then were praised online by Goldberg as “martyrs.”
Jacksonville, Florida’s News4Jax quoted a neighbor of Goldberg as saying:
It’s crazy. Obviously the guy’s not right in the head.
A café that was a popular spot for Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II has been rebuilt and reopened in the city’s Hongkou district.
The Zum Weissen Rossi’l café, better known as the White Horse Café, first opened in 1939. On hand for the reopening were city and district government officials, the consulate general of Israel in Shanghai and family members of the original owners.
“The feeling is excellent, like going back home,” said 74-year-old Ron Klinger, one of the family members, Xinhua reported.
“Our families are very grateful to the city and district government for restoring the cafe,” Klinger said.
Klinger’s grandparents, who fled to Shanghai from Vienna in 1939, ran the café until 1949, when they relocated to Australia. Klinger’s parents also met at the café and got married in February 1941. He was born the same year.
It is estimated that around 23,000 European Jews fled to Shanghai during World War II to escape Nazi persecution, joining already established Chinese Jewish communities from Baghdad and Russia. The Jewish refugees were restricted to a small area that became known as the “Shanghai Ghetto” by the Japanese, who had occupied the city in 1937. Nearly all of Shanghai’s Jewish community left the city following WWII and the Chinese Communist revolution in 1949.
New Zealand-born rock singer Jon Stevens accidentally ran over visiting Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar this week and broke his legs, Australian media reported.
Eldar, 60, reportedly was visiting his mother-in-law in Australia, where Stevens now lives. He is a veteran Haaretz journalist whose views reflect the newspaper’s left-wing stance.
Stevens formerly was the singer for the Noiseworks group in Australia. He previously has been convicted of drunken driving, After Steven’s BMW hit Eldar as he was walking near his mother-in-law’s home in a posh Sydney suburb, the singer attended to the journalist. Police said tests showed Stevens was not drunk at the time.
He later said, “I hope the gentleman is OK, police and paramedics assured me he is but I’ll be checking in to make sure. It was just an accident…. I’m devastated.”
Stevens has been involved in a number of bad scenes lately. Last week, he was among a group that was in a fracas in a pub. Three months ago, Stevens was charged with after an altercation with his then-fiancée.
The accident has delayed Eldar’s return to Israel by several weeks.