World Vision Palestinian funds suspended over Hamas charges

Australia has suspended funding for World Vision’s charity work in the Palestinian Territories after Israel charged a senior employee with siphoning millions of dollars from the Christian charity’s funds and transferring them to the military wing of Islamic political group Hamas.

Mohammed el-Halabi allegedly established a “systematic and sophisticated mechanism” to divert up to $65 million over the years to the militant group, which rules Gaza, creating fictitious humanitarian projects and doctoring inflated receipts in order to get the funds to Hamas, according to Israeli security agency the Shin Bet.

Mr el-Halabi, whose actions helped Hamas build illegal underground tunnels and purchase weapons for terror attacks, was charged on Thursday, the Shin Bet said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s department revealed this morning it was suspending funding to the World Vision in the Palestinian Territories while it investigated the “deeply troubling” allegations.

Read the report by Jared Owens in The Australian.