‘I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here,’ said Captain Louis Renault as he collected his winnings at Rick’s Café in Casablanca.
Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia, could be accused of having a bit of a Captain Renault moment when he found out World Vision may have accidentally given millions of Australian taxpayer dollars and donations to the terrorists running the Gaza Strip.
How many millions? Nobody knows exactly.
But Costello says: ‘We do not, absolutely do not support Hamas or have anything to do with terror which is why these allegations – particularly because we have seen no evidence – have really profoundly shocked us.’
Still, four years ago World Vision allegedly found it had accidentally given $1.68 million of AusAID money to a Palestinian ‘charity’ set up by terrorists, run by a terrorist and with a board stacked with terrorists.
The terrorists in question were the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine, Marxist-Leninists in ill-fitting attire, who had graduated from hijacking planes in the 70s to gunning down Israelis in their cars and hacking them to death in synagogues. The PFLP is a proscribed terror organisation in Australia.
The President of the ‘charity’ was Comrade Bashir al-Khairi, a convicted terrorist and head of the Politburo of the PFLP. And Comrade Bashir worked so closely with Hamas that he would warm up the crowds at their rallies. You can see him in an Al Jazeera clip from September 23, 2005, railing against the ‘monstrous, racist’ Zionists and the ‘midget rulers’ of the Arab world who betray Palestinian ‘martyrs’ or terrorists as we call them in Australia.
Then, Hamas leader HassanYousuf takes to the stage and salutes the suicide bombers, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades – Hamas’ military wing and another proscribed terror organisation in Australia, and the heroes of the tunnel operations. He tells the cheering crowd ‘All the options remain open, including kidnapping Israeli soldiers.’ And sure enough, true to their word, the following year, Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Israeli soil, took him to Gaza through a terror tunnel and held him captive for five years until 1,027 Palestinian prisoners responsible for 569 Israeli deaths were released in exchange for him.
You might have thought that Costello would have cut ties with such an outfit. After all, it’s difficult to imagine Australian taxpayers want their hard-earned dollars going to any organisation that would make Comrade Bashir president. But that sort of thing didn’t deter World Vision which, in 2010, funded the Shahid Abu Jihad Youth Sports Center, named after a PLO founder who plotted numerous terror attacks including the 1978 Coastal Road massacre on an Israeli bus that killed 38 Israelis and wounded 70 others.
And AusAID was satisfied that there were ‘appropriate due diligence systems’ in place to ensure that funds were only used for agreed purposes such as building greenhouses and land rehabilitation.
World Vision would monitor cash flows and financial acquittals, and all purchases over $1,000 would go to a bidding committee run by WV’s manager, Muhammad El-Halabi, who would put purchases over $10,000 out to tender.
And third parties contractors would be vetted to check they weren’t terrorists.
So it must indeed have been a nasty shock when Israel announced last week that El-Halabi himself had confessed he was a longtime member of Hamas, making something of a mockery of AusAID vetting procedures and ‘due diligence systems’. El-Halabi said he put fake programs out to tender and the ‘winning’ company would inflate their bid so the excess could be creamed off for Hamas.
World Vision might monitor the acquittals all it liked but El-Halabi says he simply inflated the costs. So preparing 495 acres for 500 greenhouses netted Hamas $A780,000. Halabi claims WV greenhouses were also used to camouflage attack tunnels; equipment for farmers was used to dig the tunnels and that he would use work trips to Israel to record the GPS locations for their exit points.
DFAT’s most recent report on its aid program, from October 2015, proudly notes that ‘Australia’s support to World Vision enabled it to distribute 3,200 food parcels, 500 hygiene kits and facilitated an estimated 1,500 emergency medical procedures.’ But El-Halabi told the Israelis, 2,500 food packages worth $100 each and 3,300 packages of cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products worth $80 each, were given to Hamas, giving a whole new meaning to money laundering.
El-Halabi gave the Israelis a far more detailed breakdown of how he says he spent World Vision’s money than taxpayers or donors can get out of the charity or the government and it’s not a pretty picture. He says cash for Hamas was recorded as aid to needy children, which, as anyone knows who’s dealt with terrorists, or with children, is sort of true.
One third of World Vision’s unemployment payments, he claims, went to members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who, when they aren’t lobbing missiles at Israeli civilians or throwing Palestinians rivals off buildings, are probably underemployed, which is perhaps why El-Halabi gave them $520 instead of the standard $430 a month.
A fictitious fishermen’s project was used to buy motorboats and wetsuits for Hamas frogmen.
Hamas warehouses were allegedly decked out with World Vision branding so that Hamas drivers could conveniently pick up WV’s supplies and put them to priority tasks – like preparing to wage a war of annihilation on Israel.
El-Halabi, named a UN ‘Humanitarian Hero’ in 2014, says he started helping Hamas when he worked at the UN Development Program, paying farmers on Israel’s border to work as Hamas lookouts. He got the idea from his dad, who, as the head of education at the UN’s Relief and Works agency for Palestine Refugees, was allegedly doing the same thing.
All up Halabi says he diverted 60 per cent of World Vision’s Gaza budget to Hamas for six years. Costello is waiting to see the evidence, which is fair enough. But if it’s true, a latterday Philistine exploited World Vision’s tunnel vision and rendered it as blind as Samson, ‘eyeless in Gaza’.
Since this article was written El Halabi has denied the allegations against him through his lawyer and World Vision have released the following statement stating their position on El Halal’s arrest: http://www.worldvision.org.uk/news-and-views/latest-news/2016-news/august/statement-kevin-jenkins-gaza/
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