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.”
Mahmood Abbas, the man who is on the twelfth year of a four-year mandate as President of the Palestinian Authority, gets away with lies, lies, and more lies, and the world’s only response is to nod and smile.
In a speech at the United Nations in September 2014, Abbas made the preposterous accusation that Israel is involved in the “genocide” of the Palestinians. Despite this bald-faced lie and other lies within the same speech, it earned him a standing ovation. This is only one example of Abbas’ habitual lying and the world’s refusal to take him to task on it.
This week, on June 23, 2016, Abbas told European Parliament lawmakers in Brussels, “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear; there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.” According to Abbas, from Kabul to Paris to Istanbul to Jakarta to Baghdad to Orlando to many other cities where hundreds of terrorist attacks take place yearly, all terrorists have one motivation and one motivation only, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state!
Abbas told his EU audience that “certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed.” Even Haaretz, one of Israel’s harshest critics, admitted that this accusation is a lie. Abbas later retracted the accusation, but the damage is done and he undoubtedly knows it. Accusations against Israel are widely disseminated, but retractions are not.
Despite Abbas’ long history of lies and despite his pro-terror incitement, when he said to the EU politicians, “we are against terrorism in whatever form it may take and whoever carries it out,” according to the Jerusalem Post, “his statement was greeted by strong applause.”
Instead of exposing Abbas’ blatant lies, France 24, an international news channel based in Paris, headlined, “Abbas accused the rabbis of wanting to poison Palestinian wells; Israel cries out to slander,’ gives equal weight to the lie and its denial. The Belgium site 7sur7 headlined, “Abbas defends Palestine to European deputies” and made no reference to his lies.
Why is Abbas’ habitual lying not called out for what it is?
Is it due to anti-Semitism that causes Abbas’ audiences to believe any accusations against Israel? Does it result from fear that criticizing him may lead to Abbas being replaced by someone even worse? Is it a form of appeasement based on the hope that paying lip service to the Palestinian cause through Abbas may reduce terrorism? Is it because of what was called in Huffington Post, “The soft bigotry of low Palestinian expectations”?
Whatever the reason, letting Abbas get away with lying hurts the Palestinians more than anyone else because it leaves the Palestinians without a genuine champion for peace. European leaders refuse to face the reality that the Palestinians are led by a charlatan and they pretend that organizing a peace conference will deliver the peace agreement that has repeatedly eluded U.S. administrations.
In his speech to the EU, Abbas made the same claim that he has made numerous times in the past when he said, “We favor a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital.” Yet in 2008, he rejected a proposal that met those criteria and his predecessor Yasser Arafat rejected in 2000 a previous proposal that also met those criteria.
Despite Abbas’ flowery words, “Our hands are extended with a desire for peace,” it is obvious that Abbas has no interest in a two-state solution. This lie is left unchallenged, yet when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the honest observation that a two-state solution is not possible under current circumstances, even though he later reiterated his support for two states, Israel was criticized and threatened by its strongest ally, the United States. Israel was criticized and threatened despite its prime minister’s often-stated willingness to negotiate a two-state solution without pre-conditions and despite Abbas’ refusal to negotiate or even meet with Israeli officials.
The insistence of the world to hold Israel to an impossibly high standard while expecting nothing from the Palestinians is not new or unique to the issue of Abbas’ lying habits. It is part of a pattern of the international attitude towards the Israel-Arab conflict. This pattern has ensured that real issues, such as the Palestinian hate culture and Hamas’ stranglehold on Gaza, are never discussed honestly and that they continue to fester and to make peace impossible.
If world leaders, including European and U.S. leaders, wish to see the reason why there is no peace today in the holy land, all they need to do is look at a mirror.
Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement condemning the murder of a 13-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist in Kiryat Arba on Thursday morning, calling on the Palestinian Authorty leadership, and the world, to unequivocally join in the condemnation. The terrorist broke into the Ariel family’s home and stabbed the daughter, Hallel, to death in her bed.
“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” Netanyahu said. “The entire nation deeply identifies with the family’s pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us. We will continue to take strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times.”
Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Tarayra from the nearby Arab village of Bani Na’im breached the security fence of Kiryat Arba’s Harsina neighborhood Thursday morning and stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel to death as she slept in her bed. A security volunteer responding to the incident was also wounded by the terrorist, and is now in moderate condition.
Tarayra was killed at the scene.
Netanyahu held a security consultation with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman after the attack, and ordered to cordon off the Bani Na’im village, revoke work permits for members of his clan, and to begin the procedure of getting official approval to demolish the terrorist’s family home.
“I expect the Palestinian leadership to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement,” Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu also called upon the world at-large to speak out against the attack, saying: “The entire world needs to condemn this murder just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels.”
“Enlightened nations must join in this demand. They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens,” he added, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Netanyahu frequently accuse of inciting violence against Jews.
Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s official spokesperson to the Arab media, expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s response to the attack, tweeting: “Official PA media outlets call the Palestinian terrorist who murdered 13 y/o Hallel Ariel in her bed ‘a martyr.’”
Yael Kabilio, Hallel’s aunt, expressed deep despair over the family’s loss and called upon Netanyahu to take direct action.
“Today the most wonderful girl in the world was murdered. We are in deep mourning, feeling great sorrow,” she said. “I have many things to say to the prime minister. He should come to his senses. The home front is on fire today. Today it’s our house, tomorrow it’s another. Take matters into your own hands and come to your senses.”
The victim was a cousin of MK Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of agriculture and rural development, who tweeted: “Arab terror has struck our family, but the response must be national. Deterring terrorists, redoubling building and planting in Judea and Samaria, and applying Israeli sovereignty to Area C,” referring to territory in Judea and Samaria that the Oslo Accords assign to Israeli civilian and military control.
MK Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor party, shared in the Ariel family’s loss, saying: “my heart breaks looking at the photo of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, smiling an innocent and calm smile.”
Keep the Shavuot atmosphere around long after your last bite of cheesecake, with these sweet and easy ways to reuse your Shavuot bouquets.
For older kids, set up a gardening station using black playdough, flowers and gardening tools. Or shape the playdough into a mountain to decorate Har Sinai.
This faux-soil playdough is easy, cheap and lasts much longer than its store-bought counterpart.
No-cook, Faux-soil playdough
2 cups of flour (plus more for adjusting)
2 tbsp oil, any kind
½ cup of salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1½ cup boiling water
Wilton Icing Gel, Black (I’ve found this to work the best)
Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a bowl. Then add oil. Pour in the boiling water, and carefully mix together to form dough. Exercise caution, as dough will be hot. Knead together and form a ball.
Form a small indentation in the ball to pour in the food coloring. Mix until thoroughly combined, adding more color as needed.
For younger children who are still mouthing, laminate some flowers and cut them into easy to handle shapes. My son loved examining the delicate petals, and handling the laminated circles was great for his motor development.
Once your little one is done with them, use the shapes to create a mobile or suncatcher by hanging the pieces from a branch or taping them directly to your window.
Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.
After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.
Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.
Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”
They could take away his Internet connection, of course.
Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.
After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.