World Vision Loses 2 Top Donors After Israel Accuses Director of Funneling Millions to Hamas

Head of World Vision's Gaza branch Mohammad el-Halabi Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Head of World Vision’s Gaza branch Mohammad el-Halabi Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

After giving World Vision over $3.8 million dollars, Australia suspends funding to projects in the Palestinian territories; Germany freezes payments totaling $1.66 million.

Humanitarian aid group World Vision lost two major donors on Friday, one day after Israel charged the charity’s head in Gaza with funneling money to Hamas fighters and buying weapons.

Australia suspended funding to World Vision projects in the Palestinian territories, while Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said it had indefinitely frozen payments totaling $1.66 million dollars (1.5 million euros) to the Christian charity.

The moves came after World Vision official Mohammad El Halabi appeared in court in Be’er Sheva on Thursday, facing charges of using charity funds to support the Palestinian extremist group Hamas.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said the allegations were “deeply troubling,” adding that officials were seeking more information from World Vision and Israeli authorities.

“We are suspending the provision of further funding to World Vision for programs in the Palestinian Territories until the investigation is complete,” the department said in a statement.

Germany’s BMZ said in a statement “that there will be no disbursements until further notice.”

“Should the allegations turn out to be correct, Hamas is deliberately putting the humanitarian aid security of its own population in jeopardy,” a ministry spokesman said.

“Providing for the Gaza Strip is not possible without international support,” he added.

Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of World Vision, was arrested on June 15 at the Erez Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Israel’s security agency Shin Bet said on Thursday.

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.735515

SOURCE: Haaretz – Frank Walker

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