The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, expressed sharp criticism in his meeting Thursday evening with senior staff of World Vision, who are currently in Israel. The Coordinator conveyed the need for the organization to publicly condemn the incident and assume responsibility immediately.
The Coordinator presented to the organization the findings and confession from Mohammed El Halbi’s interrogation regarding his exploitation of the organization’s donations for Hamas’s military wing. The WV representatives emphasized that it renounces any support, direct or indirect, for Hamas, and intends to operate transparently and in coordination with COGAT, as required.
But World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello told the Guardian Thursday that his charity was “mystified” by the charges, because independent audits had found the charity’s programs in Palestine were “clean.”
Costello told Guardian Australia: “I want to reassure Australians that World Vision’s money in Gaza is being spent on reducing poverty for Palestinian people, not terrorism.”
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.
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.
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.”
In the second half of this week’s podcast, Gordon d’Angelo, author of the bestseller Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, discusses how having a vision helps you to realize your goals. Follow the dream and listen to this interesting interview on The Goldstein on Gelt Show.
Eretz Israel , the Land of Israel , is on the international negotiating table. Nothing else. Only Eretz Israel . The world is interested in the welfare of Arabs only where it is possible to attack the Jews. Syria is drowning in rivers of Arab blood, demonstrations in Egypt end with many dead, all of Europe is swept by an extremist Islamic wave that threatens to drown it, the entire Middle East shakes and seems to be hanging by a thread, and the world is so good as to utter a few pretty, hypocritical condemnations, and then quickly goes on as usual – to the “most problematic conflict” in the world – the “territories,” a code name for Eretz Israel.
What is in Eretz Israel that draws so much attention?
Water? Mineral deposits? Open spaces? Oil? Gold? Diamonds?
How is it that, despite all that it does not possess, it is one of the most flourishing countries in the world, in the development of modern industry, medicine, agriculture, high-tech?
It’s because its children have returned to their G-d given promised land, and transformed the desert and wasteland into a settled land, whose fruits are in abundance on roadsides and in stores, its towers reach to the sky, our science is purchased and advances underdeveloped lands.
In light of all this, Israel should have been proud and certain of its capabilities, guarding its borders well, finely understanding its historical role. But, just look, Eretz Israel is on the negotiating table. It stands there alone, its defenders have grown weary, its politicians, instead of safeguarding it, play a dangerous game with it. In the bad-case scenario, this is just “playing with fire,” at the immoral and unbearable cost of releasing 104 terrorists and nothing more – “because in the end the Arabs will torpedo the negotiations and save us from an agreement” as many people wish; and in the even worse-case scenario, this “playing with fire” is liable to leave much more serious burns. We still can smell the stench of the burns from Yamit ,Sinai, Gush Katif, northern Samaria , Hebron. With eyes wide open, our leaders continue to jump into the fire, to receive burns of even higher degree.
It is possible to change course: to leave the path that leads to concessions, and, at long last, to enter the Eretz Israel path of preserving our historical possessions, the path of the application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and the actualization of our sovereignty and the guarding of our rights everywhere – in all of Jerusalem , and especially on the Temple Mount, in Galilee, the Negev, south Tel Aviv.
The choice is in our hands: to choose the path that leads, Heaven forbid, to the loss of values and physical destruction , or to choose the vision, the path that leads to the values that Israeli society already held dear in the beginnings of Zionism, in the establishment of the State of Israel, in the settlement enterprise, in the draining of swamps, in the ingathering of exiles, in Operation Entebbe….
We in Women in Green choose to continue and increase our activities for the redemption of lands and the guarding of state lands on the hills of Judea . Along with this, we wish to advance a national campaign for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria . We need partners for this.
The ideology of the left – that is, dispossessing us from Eretz Israel – was advanced with tremendous international financing, with perseverance, by well-planned and sophisticated campaigns, and with massive media support. Thus, despite the opposition of the majority of the people of Israel that believes that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel , the left has succeeded in infiltrating its positions into the Israeli consciousness, as if this were the only ideology that can, and may, be discussed. Every other vision is dismissed by those who champion the “two-state theory” as being delusional and proven to be wrong.
The time has come for the national camp to awaken. The time has come to present the alternative that states, clearly and decisively, that this is our land, and to do so professionally and correctly.