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Israel accuses Save the Children employee of Hamas membership

August 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Israeli authorities have accused a Gaza-based Palestinian employee of Save the Children of being a member of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades.

A spokesperson for Save the Children said that none of the organisation’s employees has been arrested or charged, and that they had received no details from Israeli authorities.

The NGO had earlier said it was looking into the matter, but revealed that the first they learned of the accusations were when the media contacted them for comment.

The claim is part of a Shin Bet indictment of Mohammad El-Halabi, the World Vision director in Gaza who last week was charged with funnelling tens of millions of dollars of aid money to Hamas’ armed wing. El-Halabi allegedly recruited the Save Children employee on behalf of Al-Qassam Brigades.

El-Halabi’s lawyer has said his client, who was detained for 50 days before being charged, denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, World Vision International CEO Kevin Jenkins has questioned details of the Shin Bet charge sheet against El-Halabi, in a new statement released by the organisation.

“World Vision’s cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past ten years was approximately $22.5 million, which makes the alleged amount of up to $50 million being diverted hard to reconcile.”

When asked “if the Israeli government still stood by figures alleging approximately $50 million had been taken”, an Israeli spokesperson “told [Australia’s] ABC that the amount was irrelevant.”

The spokesperson also said: “Israeli authorities were preparing to release information soon on a United Nations organisation Israel also alleges is linked to Hamas.”

This page was updated at 14.49pm BST.