JERUSALEM – Christian organisation World Vision did not vet the director of its branch operating in Gaza – said sources close to an investigation.
The director of World Vision’s Gaza branch, Mohammed El-Halabi, 38, has been a Hamas member since his youth and underwent organizational and military training in the early 2000s. His father, Halil El-Halabi, who served as head of UNRWA’s educational institutions in Gaza for years, is also a member of Hamas.
According to Israeli investigators Mohammed El-Halabi established fictitious humanitarian projects and agricultural associations that acted as cover for the transfer of monies to Hamas. For instance, he initiated a greenhouse project in order to use the 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’ military marine unit. Hamas warehouses were disguised as World Vision warehouses, where trucks bringing supplies from Israel would unload their goods.
$1.5 million a year from World Vision‘s budget was given in cash to Hamas combat units. $4 million a year was diverted from the needy in Gaza for the construction of terror tunnels and the purchase of weapons. Money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas terrorists by fraudulently listing their children as wounded. $2 million a year designated for psychological support, education and health in Gaza was used to pay the families of Hamas terrorists. 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 World Vision.
The funds El-Halabi diverted to Hamas originated in aid money from Western states such as the U.S., England and Australia. The investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in Gaza who exploited their work in humanitarian aid organizations and UN institutions on behalf of Hamas. His statements portray a troubling picture in which UN institutions in Gaza are in fact controlled by Hamas.