The Gaza operations manager of the World Vision international aid organization has been convicted of diverting aid money and resources from the organization to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
Mohammed El-Halabi was arrested six years ago this month by Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, which exposed him as a Hamas terrorist following the arrest.
He was convicted Wednesday (June 15) by the Be’er Sheva District Court on charges of terror financing, diverting approximately 60 percent of World Vision’s Gaza budget — $50 million — to Hamas for construction of tunnels and other terrorist activity, according to the NGO Monitor watchdog organization.
According to the charges, El-Halabi created humanitarian projects and fictitious agricultural associations to act as a cover for the hijacking of monies and materials for Hamas.
In addition, he was acquitted on a single charge of assisting the enemy on the grounds that as a Gaza resident, he is not a citizen of the State of Israel.
His attorney, Maher Hana, said he would appeal the conviction to the Supreme Court.
In response to the conviction, World Vision stated they were “shocked” to learn of the charges and that “The funds entrusted to us are spent…in ways that do not fuel conflict but rather contribute to peace.”
Last November, the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits also petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to dissolve World Vision’s Israeli non-profit.
The Registrar alleged that the local non-profit did not implement humanitarian projects as it claimed to and conducted financial transactions for purposes other than its stated goals – including providing funds to Hamas. According to the Registrar, checks belonging to the non-profit were found in the possession of Hamas operatives.
In the first six months of this year (2022), the organization’s five offices in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza received $853,873 from Germany alone for projects aimed at building resilience and ensuring protective hygiene “at schools’ level in Area C,” the NGO Monitor reported.
Last year Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the European Union all generously donated funds to World Vision.
The NGO collected a total $3.2 billion in 2021 from those nations for the purpose “building the capacity of local Palestinian NGOs, encouraging youth to document their history and surroundings, providing photography training to vulnerable communities across the West Bank and Gaza,” among other activities.
Donors who sent funds specifically earmarked for the World Vision branch in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza included the European Union, Germany, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Save the Children agency.