Hamas accused of stealing millions in aid

Many people have criticised Israel’s attempts to control the flow of materials into Gaza. But back in May 2016 Israel’s Dore Gold claimed that Hamas was siphoning off 95 percent of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip intended to rebuild homes, so that it can use it for military purposes.

And yesterday the Israelis released information that highlighted the basic problem, indicating that aid flowing into Gaza is being used by Hamas for terrorist purposes rather than supporting the civilian population. Israel’s Shin Bet security service claims that Hamas siphoned off ‘tens of millions of dollars’ over the course of several years from the World Vision charity, and used the money for its terrorist purposes.

This prompted IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Poly Mordechai to address the people of Gaza directly, saying:

“I want to speak to you today about the terror organisation Hamas, which has been stealing your money to advance their terror agenda ... After a long investigation we discovered that Hamas diverted and misappropriated funds.”

"This money was intended for construction projects, financial aid, and even food donations for Gazans in need. Hamas stole this money and passed it to its military wing to build bases, provide salary bonuses, and dig the tunnels of death that have brought destruction upon you and the Gaza Strip."

Shin Bet claimed that about 60% of all funds sent to Gaza by the World Vision charity was being diverted to the Islamist movement. The Israelis have charged the head of World Vision in Gaza, Mohammed Halabi, with diverting millions of dollars of foreign funds to Hamas.

In a press release on 4th August World Vision stated:

‘On June 15th, 2016, Mohammad El Halabi, the manager of operations for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested on his way home from routine meetings. On the 4th August 2016 date, after 50 days in Israeli state detention, Mohammad was charged with providing support to Hamas. World Vision was shocked to learn of these charges against Mohammad … World Vision programs in Gaza have been subject to regular internal and independent audits, independent evaluations, and a broad range of internal controls aimed at ensuring that assets reach their intended beneficiaries and are used in compliance with applicable laws and donor requirements. We will carefully review any evidence presented to us and will take appropriate actions based on that evidence. We continue to call for a fair legal process.’