10 August 2016

World Vision has seriously betrayed donors' trust

From The Australian, Editorial, August 8, 2016:

$56 million of donations used to fund terrorism


... Investigations that led to the arrest of World Vision's Gaza director Mohammed el-Halabi, [an estimated $56 million of its funds were allegedly diverted to help Hamas terrorists in Gaza], revealed "an abysmal lack of monitoring of donations and projects".

That criticism demands urgent action by World Vision in Australia and the other 100 countries in which it operates.

It would be hard to imagine a more egregious betrayal of trust than for money donated to a charity in good faith to end up serving the cause of murderous terrorists who concentrate on killing innocent civilians.
 
That is what the Gaza-born Halabi stands accused of by Israel's internal security service Shin Bet. It says he has been a lifelong member of Hamas and received military training in the early 2000s before Hamas leaders ordered him "to infiltrate" World Vision in 2004.
 
According to Shin Bet, he rose through the ranks until he became World Vision's Gaza director, financing weapons and military bases and providing materials for Hamas to construct the maze of tunnels it uses with deadly effect to attack Israel. According to Shin Bet, a project for the "rehabilitation of fishermen" was a cover to equip the terrorists' military marine unit. As Dore Gold, director-general of Israel's foreign ministry says, Hamas works hand in glove with Islamic State terrorists in neighbouring Sinai and is an integral part of Iran's actions in the Middle East.

Rightly, the Australian government has suspended its funding of World Vision projects in Gaza, for which DFAT provided $5.7m in the past three years. While Halabi has reportedly confessed, it would be unthinkable to resume such taxpayer funding until the case against him has been concluded. World Vision's website, shows 71 per cent of its funding in Australia comes from the community and 12 per cent from government.

As Colin Rubenstein wrote in The Weekend Australian:
"diverting humanitarian aid is despicable; diverting it to a militant organisation that carries out attacks on civilians is simply evil."
 
World Vision, which spends so much time appealing for donations on television, must do better in supervising how its funds are spent.