In light of recent revelations that UN money for “humanitarian aid” has instead been used to fund Hamas’ terrorist and military efforts, NGO Monitor president Gerald Steinberg has called for new efforts to ensure that funds are no longer misappropriated.
According to the Israeli government, Mohammed El-Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of the international humanitarian aid group World Vision, funneled money to Hamas’ military efforts for 10 years. Of the money allocated to the Gaza Strip since 2005 by World Vision, 60 percent of the annual budget was diverted to Hamas, totaling $7.2 million per year. Of the money that was intended to go towards building civilian projects and for the needy, $1.5 million per year was given in cash to Hamas combat units and $4 million to build terror tunnels. In a second case, Waheed Borsh, a UN Development Program (UNDP) engineer, was indicted for building a Hamas military jetty in the northern Gaza strip utilizing UNDP materials.
The misappropriation of funds is especially concerning to Israel, as the aid is often used to carry out attacks on civilian communities in Israel. The lack of due diligence is also disturbing to Western governments that provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. “We don’t want our money spent on that kind of thing,” said Australian Parliamentarian Michael Danby, whose government contributed significant amounts to World Vision before the allegations surfaced. “I bet my bottom dollar that this is a widely held view not just in Australia, but in Germany, Canada, and the United States,” he added in a Jerusalem press conference with NGO Monitor.