A high-ranking officer in the Hamas terrorist organization was arrested by Israel in the wee hours of Wednesday by Shin Bet intelligence agents and IDF soldiers.
Sheikh Hussein Abu Kweik, 50, was captured at his home in the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah, in Samaria. Abu Kweik is a high-ranking member of the Hamas Central Elections Commission.
He was detained “for his involvement in security-related activities that present a threat to security in the area, and for suspected incitement,” according to a statement by the Shin Bet intelligence agency.
Nine other Hamas members were also arrested in the operation, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
Gaza-based Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zukhri condemned the arrested in a news release sent to media.
Hamas alleges Israel is trying to influence the election campaign for Palestinian Authority leadership. The terror group has exerted great control over the universities in Judea and Samaria and is expected to win in many areas in the upcoming municipal polls.
An Arab teenager who was rioting and posing a threat to the lives of IDF soldiers from the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit carrying out an operation in the Al Fawwar refugee camp southwest of Hebron was shot and killed, according to Arab media reports.
Muhammad Abu Hashhash, 17, was shot by the Israeli force during clashes inside the camp. At least 45 other rioting Arabs were injured, one seriously.
Israeli forces stormed al-Fawwar at dawn on Tuesday, raiding homes and interrogating suspects. Clashes broke out between local youth and Israeli soldiers, who defended themselves using tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and low impact live bullets.
The Egoz Reconnaissance Unit operation is expected to last 24 hours. The IDF Spokesperson said Tuesday that the purpose of the operation is arrests of suspects, searching for weapons and issuing subpoenas for security interrogations.
The IDF Spokesperson added that the force ran into a mob that threw stones, firebombs and improvised explosives. At least four rioters were shot after the hurled cinder blocks at the soldiers.
Israeli army soldiers carry a searching raid from house to house in Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron August 16 2016.
United Nations Special Envoy Laurie Cardoza-Moore has called on all international humanitarian organizations to immediately halt all aid money to Gaza until it can be proven that the money isn’t being squandered by Hamas. Her statement came hours after a UN employee in Gaza was indicted for funneling charity donations to pay for Hamas naval units and days after the director of the Evangelical World Vision charity in Gaza was accused of diverting as much as $50M in charitable donations to the Islamist terror group.
Cardoza-Moore who represents the World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC) at the United Nations and is President of the Evangelical Christian organization “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations” (PJTN) stated: “The enemy of the people of Gaza is Hamas, not Israel. Hamas has hijacked the coastal strip and rules over its people with an iron fist. For decades, the leadership of Hamas has robbed its people of aid money. The time has come to halt all aid money into the Gaza Strip as long as Hamas is in control.“
She continued: “If the international community wants to help the impoverished people of Gaza, they must work to free them from Hamas. It is unacceptable that hundreds of millions of dollars are likely being directly transferred to the coffers of an international terrorist organization in the name of Christianity and humanity. No Church or humanitarian organization should send a single cent to Gaza as long as it is run by a band of murderous terrorist bandits.”
Cardoza-Moore contacted World Vision last week to find out how an Evangelical Christian organization could hire a Hamas terrorist sympathizer to distribute aid money — but to date she has not received a response. In addition she has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and demanded that they immediately stop distributing aid to Gaza.
PJTN, a not-for-profit organization, was established to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and Israel, utilizing powerful film and video presentations, a variety of grassroots rallies, events and speaking engagements to facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities in support of the State of Israel and against global genocidal anti-Semitism.
Last week the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decree to show cause against the state prosecution, to explain why it would not release for burial the bodies of terrorists who committed violent crimes in Israel. Recently the Netanyahu government has adopted a policy whereby those bodies are not released automatically and are being kept at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir.
This renewed demand by the high court came following an earlier ruling where the court had ordered the bodies of terrorists be released in exchange for families’ commitment to conduct quiet funerals, without anti-Israeli incitement. The judges approved of the requirement seeing as the hearing was held during the holy month of Ramadan, when Arabs have customarily expressed their religious feelings through rioting in the streets and throwing stones and firebombs at innocent civilians.
But the reality of those cases has been a complete reneging of every commitment made by the families in almost every instance. A funeral that was conducted for terrorist Ala Abu Jamal from Jabel Mukaber, who carried out a bloodthirsty attack on Malkhey Israel Street in downtown Jerusalem, quickly deteriorated into a massive riot. As Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan later put it, “The terrorist families simply lied to the high court. It’s a shame that the court chose to believe them and pressured police to hand over the bodies before Ramadan.”
Interestingly enough, the terrorists’ families are using exactly that argument in their newest appeal to the high court, saying that since Ramadan is long over, there’s no more justification to release the bodies. Essentially, the Arab petitioners are saying that Arab funerals have always been huge and riotous, rife with incitements against israel, so why stop now?
According to NRG, Jerusalem Police this week approached the family of Baha Alyan, who carried out a murderous attack on a bus at the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, to negotiate the body’s release. Police offered to hand over the body in exchange for a late night funeral, with only 15 people present. The family eventually refused those terms and police pulled back their offer.
Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and an expert on constitutional and international law, tweeted Thursday night, following the indictment of the director of the World Vision charity in Gaza for diverting to terrorist ends the millions in charity contributions from evangelical Christians intended to support Gaza’s indigent population, noted Thursday night that WV was not an innocent bystander in this story of deception and terror. He pointed to a World Vision official publication titled, “Advancing a Just Peace in the Holy Land,” which states clearly:
“WV is committed to supporting initiatives, whether exclusively Palestinian, Israeli, or joint, operating from a framework of ‘coresistance.’ We welcome Israeli actions that resist the occupation and work towards restoring rights for Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Clearly, despite their hectic claims to the contrary, WV saw its mission in Gaza, Judea and Samaria as going much farther than feeding the children of the Holy Land, as its Australian CEO claimed Thursday.
Kontorovich then asked, speaking of innocent bystanders, “Can Israeli ‘human rights’ organizations that are World Vision’s ‘partners’ in ‘co-resistance’ please comment on that partnership?”
The same WV publication lists the charity’s numerous local partners in supposedly improving the lives of the suffering civilian population in Gaza. In a separate section headlined “OUR PARTNERS,” the charity lists “a number of local Israeli and Palestinian partners” with whom it collaborates, “along with international partners,” on “advocacy campaigns that focus on issues affecting the wellbeing of children in the Holy Land.”
We’ve already learned from the state prosecutor on Thursday that the work carried out by World Vision’s director and staff had nothing to do with the wellbeing of those children, but supported instead the murder of Jewish children and other Jewish civilians on the other side of Israel’s border. Now it’s time to examine who was in cahoots on the ground with the Hamas-run organization, and they should conceivably provide a record of their activities with Mohammed El Halabi, the Hamas-member director of the charity in Gaza.
Would a Knesset committee assemble the following NGOs’ representative for a hearing on their ties with El Halabi? According to World Vision, these NGOs are:
B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Hamoked, ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions), Rabbis for Human Rights, as well as local advocacy partners in “Palestine,” such as the Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, Ma’an Development Center, and Grassroots Jerusalem.
Israeli legislators and policymakers should find out the extent of the cooperation between these organizations and the man who was central to the advocacy campaign against Israel in the past decade, and who was also an agent for a major terror organization condemned by the civilized world.
For the past four years, Tel Aviv based civil rights center Shurat HaDin has been warning that funds provided to Gaza by the world’s largest evangelical charity World Vision were being utilized for terrorism, the organization said in a statement Thursday, following the indictment by Israel of Mohammed El Halabi, a Hamas terrorist and senior WV employee who is accused of transferring as much as $50 million in charity funds to support Hamas terrorist activities.
In 2012, Shurat HaDin notified the Australian government that its aid money administrated by World Vision was being transferred to front charities of Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. Both the Australian government and WV rejected Shurat HaDin’s warning.
In 2015, Shurat HaDin again cautioned the Australian government that WV was operating as an active arm of the PFLP and other terror groups. WV chief executive Tim Costello vehemently denied the charges and claimed that WV had “no interest in supporting terrorism.”
However, as of this week, Shurat HaDin’s warnings against WVA have been proven true. Israel’s internal security service has arrested a senior employee of World Vision ver the course of several years, to Palestinian terror organization Hamas.
According to Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, “for years we have been warning that WV is funding Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. WV has repeatedly denied our charges and refused to seriously investigate where its funds are going. They assured us that the organizations they fund had been vetted and were not engaged in terrorism. Who knows how many of Hamas’s missiles and stabbing attacks were funded by WV after they were put on notice that theey were financing Palestinian terror. The assistance to Gaza by foreign aid organizations is directly responsible for the murder of scores of Jews in Israel.”
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.”