Donations from the United Kingdom made to the Christian aid organization World Vision were used by Hamas to build one of such 70 military bases that operate in Gaza. The allegations are part of the June 15, 2016 arrest of Mohammed El-Halabi, a senior World Vision worker facing charges of funneling $43 million in charity funds to Hamas.
Eighty thousand dollars of aid donated to World Vision by the United Kingdom, which was intended to help the civilians of Gaza, build badly-needed infrastructure, and provide food and medical care to those in need, was instead invested in building a Hamas military base and pocketed by the terrorists who constructed it.
“In this compound we have identified surveillance and observation capabilities facing north, towards Israel.” IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. “I can also tell you that in June 2015 we targeted components within the compound following a rocket attack against Israel.” The active Hamas military base, codenamed “Palestine,” was built, among other things, for close-quarter combat training in the northern Gaza city of Jabalia, the third-largest Gazan city. The relatively large base is 600 by 200 meters, and is a short distance from residential buildings, as seen in the below declassified aerial map.
The World Vision investigation exposed that sixty percent of the charity group’s annual budget was funneled to terror activities by Halabi, the Palestinian manager of the World Vision’s Gaza branch. Forty three million dollars of aid earmarked for agriculture, treatment for the disabled, and public health was instead used by Hamas to buy weapons, build military bases, and fund the construction of tunnels, which were used in the past to kidnap Israeli soldiers and stage attacks against Israel.
This is by no means the first time that Hamas has diverted international aid away from the Gazan population in their care to terrorist activities that endanger them. International aid to the Gaza Strip is at an all-time high; despite the funds and materials flowing into the strip, only 23% Palestinian homes damaged during Hamas’s last war with Israel have been rebuilt. Instead of reconstructing Gaza, Hamas spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on terror tunnel infrastructure and rearmament, which only puts more Gazan civilians at risk.