World Vision said it was “shocked” to learn about accusations that’s manager in Gaza had channelled the charity’s funds to Hamas, calling for “fair” and “legal” processes to be undertaken, a statement said.
On Thursday, 50 days after Mohamed El-Halabi was detained at Israel’s Ashdod port, Israeli intelligence services announced that El-Halabi funnelled $7.2 million from the charity to Hamas.
World Vision denied the claims insisting that El-Halabi is a “widely respected” manager. After the release of the Israeli charges against him, World Vision said in a statement that it had been “working in Israel/Palestine for over 40 years, striving to give hope to over 500,000 of the most vulnerable children, through education, health, child protection and resilience programmes.”
It also said that it “rejects any involvement in any political, military or terrorist activities and maintains its independence as a humanitarian aid agency committed to serving the poor, especially children.”
Denying the Israeli claims the statement said: “World Vision has detailed procedures and control mechanisms in place to ensure that the funds entrusted to us are spent in accordance with applicable legal requirements and in ways that do not fuel conflict but rather contribute to peace.”
“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.”
It continued: “We will carefully review any evidence presented to us and will take appropriate actions based on that evidence.”
Expressing its concerns regarding the illegal Israeli action against its manager, World Vision said: “We continue to call for a fair, legal process.”
Exclusive images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.