Israel says United Nations aid used by Hamas


Israel on Tuesday said it indicted a Palestinian U.N. employee in the Gaza Strip, accusing him of assisting the territory's Islamic militant Hamas rulers, just days after it charged the Gaza manager of the global charity World Vision for allegedly funneling millions to the group.

Last week, Mohammed El Halabi, the director of the Gaza Branch of World Vision, one of the world's largest Christian charities, was accused of siphoning tens of millions of dollars of aid to Hamas' armed wing in Gaza, the Qassam Brigades.

According to the Shin Bet, Burash was instructed by a senior Hamas official in 2014 to use his position in order to help the organization.

He allegedly confessed to using UNDP resources to build a jetty for Hamas' naval forces, according to Shin Bet.

In a press release, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "The Israeli claims regarding the global aid organisations are in line with the Israeli scheme to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip by undermining the flow of funds to these organisations". A spokesperson, Sami Abu Zurhi, called the accusations "false and baseless", saying they were created to allow Israel to strengthen its "siege" of Gaza. The organization noted that the amount of money Israel says el-Halabi diverted, well over $30 million over five years, surpassed the total budget for its Gaza offices in the last decade.

ISRAEL charged a United Nations development worker yesterday with aiding Hamas in Gaza in the latest phase of its crackdown on aid work there.

"If proven by a due legal process, these actions deserve unreserved condemnation; Gaza's demoralized and vulnerable citizens deserve so much better", he said in a statement.

Halabi is also accused of recruiting an individual from Save the Children to Hamas.

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It said they were part of a wider Israeli effort "to tighten the siege of the Gaza Strip by prosecuting global relief organisations".

During the investigation, the statement said, Borsh allegedly admitted that "other Palestinians who work for aid organisations are also working for Hamas".

On Monday, World Vision denied Israel's claims regarding al-Halabi, saying they contained discrepancies. El-Halabi's father has said his son was not a member of Hamas.

The news came as a lawyer acting on behalf of World Vision employee Mohammad el-Halabi told Al Jazeera that his client was tortured during his interrogation by ISA.

The statement said the charges demonstrate "how Hamas exploits the resources of worldwide aid organisations at the expense of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip".

Borsh is the second humanitarian worker charged by Israel in the past week for aiding Hamas.

"Along with that, we must increase the oversight of the moneys that flow to human rights organisations, which are repeatedly used to transfer money to terrorist groups", Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement, the Times of Israel reported.