Update: World Vision Suspends Operations in Gaza.

Mike McRoberts is a New Zealand television journalist.

In August we reported on the breaking news that the director of World Vision in Gaza, Mohammed El-Halabi (pictured with Mike McRoberts), was arrested by Israel for allegedly diverting tens of millions of dollars of aid and donations to Hamas terror.

When the allegations broke, World Vision announced it was “shocked” and said it has

“no reason to believe”

they are true but will

“carefully review any evidence presented to us”

and

“take appropriate action based on that evidence”.

World Vision has now suspended operations in Gaza and 120 staff have been laid off.

This follows Israel freezing World Vision bank accounts in Jerusalem.  Other governments have also taken the allegations seriously – Australia and Germany halted funding to World Vision, with representatives from both countries making strong statements:

World Vision massively damages the trust necessary for aid work for the people in Gaza … Hamas is a terrorist organization, which should not be financed with taxpayer funds.”

Volker Beck, German Green Party MP

Any diversion of the generous support of the Australian and international community for military or terrorist purposes by Hamas is to be deplored and can only harm the Palestinian people.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Shalom.Kiwi filed questions to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Official Information Act.  MFAT responded that the New Zealand government has made no payments to World Vision for projects in Gaza, so Kiwi taxpayers can rest assured in this instance.

However, New Zealand is a core funder of UNRWA and has praised their work, which has been linked directly to Hamas terror activities and incitement to violence – leading some to call UNRWA one of the greatest obstacles to peace.  UNRWA and other aid organisations may also be under investigation by Israel for supporting Hamas terror.

NGO monitor has warned that UNRWA along with other international aid organizations that have similar operations in Gaza, such as Oxfam, Care, Christian Aid should take note of the World Vision debacle.  The failure to properly prevent the siphoning of funds stems in part from a lack of will on the part of humanitarian organizations, many of which reject attempts to incorporate security concerns into funding guidelines on the basis that they are politically motivated.

This is challenged by Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, when he says

World Vision’s failures in Gaza highlight the problems of a multi-billion dollar NGO industry that remains largely unregulated and unexamined… To avoid enabling murderous Hamas attacks, and compounding the suffering of people in Gaza, aid groups need to apply surveillance and intelligence technologies, particularly regarding employees and their activities.”

We hope that any and all allegations will be taken seriously and that our government will take appropriate steps to ensure that as little money as possible from New Zealand goes to supporting terror.

First published at Shalom Kiwi.
Shalom Kiwi’s contributors are a mix of Māori, Pakeha, Jewish and non-Jewish New Zealanders, who have all spent considerable time in Israel.

 

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One comment

  1. Otto Waldmann

    It is simply absurd to assume that we, poor buggers commenting on a blog are aware of corrupt affairs in such places as UNWRA and those working right in the thick of it, signing up checks for “projects” which NEVER evolve into anything tangible have no bloody idea what’s going on.
    All those cushy jobs at any UN agency have this manic obsession with keeping the lid on anything that may compromise their impartiality, correctness, accountability etc. That would be only one – not unimportant – cause for the unaffordable perpetuation of such irregularities as those apparently interrupted now. We may also assume that other types of corrupt motivations are at work….if you call that work !!!
    The most unfair thing is that NOBODY EVER has been found guilty for such practices, nobody is known to have been admonished, never mind punished for some of the most obscene waste of OUR money, nobody is known to have resigned etc.
    In a manner of a slight rebalancing of their act, now we see that incredibly rare Gaza funds correction by this otherwise impregnably corrupt UN.