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Diplomats: Israel has provided no evidence against indicted World Vision employee

Western diplomats say that Israel has not provided them with "any intelligence or evidence" against a Gaza-based World Vision employee recently indicted for funnelling aid money to Hamas.

According to a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, "some of Israel's key allies have complained to the Foreign Ministry about not receiving any intelligence or evidence" about Mohammad el Halabi, in contrast to the huge amount of publicity granted to the accusations by the Israeli authorities.

Diplomats told the paper that "Israel's behaviour in the affair is creating the impression that the government is interested in creating a 'public diplomacy buzz,' rather than any real attempt to resolve the matter."

One Western diplomat commented: "The Israelis' priorities in this affair are very strange", adding: "Israel's conduct is very disappointing."

Haaretz stated that, as of Thursday, "neither the ministry in Jerusalem nor any other official Israeli body has provided additional information or evidence concerning the matter to any of the Western countries involved, directly or indirectly, in transferring donations to World Vision."

Furthermore, "in the past few days, the Australian, British and U.S. ambassadors asked for clarifications from the Foreign Ministry concerning the delay in the transfer of the information and have expressed their displeasure to [Israeli officials]."

On August 9, the director general of the Australian foreign affairs department wrote to Dore Gold, his Israeli counterpart, and "requested detailed information that would help the investigation into alleged misuse of donations from his country and their transfer to Hamas."

Three days later, "the Australian Embassy sent another letter to the Foreign Ministry, again asking for any information pointing to the transfer of donated funds from Australia via any international aid organization to Hamas or other terror organizations in Gaza."

The paper added that "the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain and other countries made similar verbal requests to senior people at Israel's Foreign Ministry, but say they are yet to receive a response."

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