US media is reporting that the sums the World Vision Gaza Strip director is accused of funneling to Hamas are said by the group to be higher than the group’s budget for the last 10 years. According to an Associated Press report:
August 08, 2016 Associated Press The international charity World Vision says that the sums its Gaza Strip director is accused of funneling to Hamas are impossibly high. The director, Mohammed Halabi, is currently in Israeli detention. According to the Christian charity, which denies the allegations, the sum Halabi is accused of siphoning off to Hamas’ military wing far surpasses the organization’s actual budget for the past decade. As first published last Thursday, the Shin Bet security agency accuses the charity of transferring about 60% of its Gaza budget to the Hamas military arm each year. Halabi, it says, has confessed to rerouting about $7.2 million a year to Hamas over the past five years.
Head of World Vision’s Gaza branch Mohammad el-HalabiEliyahu Hershkovitz But World Vision Germany spokeswoman Silvia Holten said in Germany on Monday that the charity’s Gaza budget totaled $22.5 million in the last decade – well under the Shin Bet estimate of Halabi’s alleged transfers to Hamas. According to Holten, there is a ‘huge gap’ in the numbers. World Vision has halted its Gaza operations while the issue is investigated. The extent of money transferred to Hamas, in cash and checks, was detailed during Halabi’s questioning by the Shin Bet, which also seized documents about the route of the money during a raid of the charity’s offices in East Jerusalem. The Shin Bet claims that part of the money reached Hamas through the fictitious employment of Hamas operatives in Gaza. Last week a top Shin Bet source commented that the agency suspects fraud totaling tens of millions of dollars, plus the transfer of goods of equivalent value, over six years.”The charge sheet says that Halabi, who holds a masters in engineering, joined Hamas’s armed wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, in 2004 and was asked a year later to infiltrate a humanitarian organization so as “to be close to decision makers in a foreign organization, to be involved in the group and operate secretly to advance al-Qassam’s interests.”
Read the rest here.
Last month, the GMBDW reported that Israel itself had approved a deal in which Qatar would provide $30 million to help pay the salaries of thousands of Hamas public servants in the Gaza Strip. As we noted in that post, since at least 2003 criticism of groups that were funding Hamas, even if ostensibly for charitable purposes, was based on the notion of “fungibility”, that money received by Hamas for charitable purposes essentially freed up the same amount of money for terrorist purposes.