It was alleged that relief group World Vision’s Gaza representative gave millions of dollars to the Islamist militant group Hamas.
Australia is concerned about the accusations, saying on Friday that they would suspend sponsoring the relief group.World Vision’s operations within Palestinian territories are being questioned, according to News Trust.
The relief group’s manager of operations in Gaza, Mohammad El Halabi, was arrested by Israel on June 15. Before the arrest, he was trying to cross the border to the zone, which is under the de facto rule of Hamas, a terrorist group on Israeli and U.S. terrorism blacklists.
Halabi had been running the group’s Gaza operations since 2010, according to a senior Israeli security official. Halabi was under extended surveillance and confessed to giving away some $7.2 million a year to Hamas.
The relief organization said in a statement on Thursday that it was “shocked” to learn that Israel’s domestic security service, the Shin Bet, charged Mohammad El Halabi for supporting Hamas.
The Shin Bet issued a statement saying that while interrogating Halabi over the past six weeks, he confessed that he was a Hamas activist. Halabi also admitted that he was utilizing his position to take away the humanitarian organization’s money and resources from the needy “to benefit of Hamas’s terrorist and military activities.”
According to Charisma News, the Shin Bet said that Hamas was given tens of millions of dollars in donations. The money was used for weapons, “terror” tunnels into Israel, a Hamas military base and militants’ salaries.
The allegations were “deeply troubling,” as stated by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In a statement, they said they were “urgently seeking more information from World Vision and the 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 DFAT said.
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