Christian charity rocked by Hamas funding allegations

One of the world’s largest Christian charities, World Vision, has been rocked by allegations that its funds in the Gaza Strip have been funnelled to the militant group Hamas.

Since June, the charity body has been lobbying the Israeli government over the arrest of its Gaza director, Mohammad El Halabi, who was detained without explanation by Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet. On August 4, investigators revealed that El Halabi was being charged with diverting at least 60% of funds sent to the Gaza Strip by World Vision donors.

World Vision moved immediately to counter the allegations, describing them in a statement as “baseless”, insisting that “World Vision programmes 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”. 


A statement from the Hamas group has also rejected the allegations. However, Shin Bet insists that El Halabi has already admitted his part in funnelling millions of dollars to the group, while his solicitor has not sought to deny the movement of funds, only that El Halabi has been the victim of “Hamas looting”.

Resulting from its investigation, Shin Bet claims to have found evidence that funds destined for fishermen in Gaza were instead used to beef up Hamas’ water-going capabilities, while funds intended for greenhouses were used to construct tunnels through which Hamas seeks to attack Israel, with the greenhouses serving as access points. 

World Vision insists it will stand by El Halabi, a much respected humanitarian in Gaza. “Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true,” World Vision stated. “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.”