Following the indictment of World Vision Gaza director Mohammed El-Halabi on charges that he siphoned tens of millions of dollars from the charity intended for humanitarian aid to Hamas’s military wing, a United Nations aid worker in Gaza has been accused by Israel’s Shin Bet security service of using his position to provide material assistance to the terrorist efforts of Hamas.
Waheed Borsh, 38, was indicted in Beersheva District Court on Tuesday for assisting Hamas. It is the second indictment of a Gaza Palestinian aid worker accused of assisting Hamas in the last week.
Borsh was arrested on July 16 by the Shin Bet and the Israel Police, the Shin Bet said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The statement said Borsh confessed that he carried out activities that aided Hamas.
Borsh, from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, has worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Gaza as an engineer since 2003. His areas of responsibility include demolishing houses damaged during armed conflicts and clearing the rubble from sites after demolition.
The UNDP, one of the world’s largest multilateral development agencies, conducts development and rehabilitation projects for the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip. The projects include assisting in the rehabilitation of housing damaged during armed conflicts.
The Shin Bet said its investigation of Borsh discovered that he had been instructed by a senior member of Hamas to redirect his work for UNDP to serve Hamas’s military interests.
In one such activity last year, he is alleged to have helped build a military jetty in the northern Gaza Strip for Hamas naval forces using UNDP resources, the Shin Bet said. Borsh is also said to have persuaded UNDP managers to prioritise the rehabilitation of housing in areas populated by Hamas members in response to a request by Hamas.
Borsh, who told investigators that there are other Palestinians employed by aid organisations that are working for Hamas, also disclosed information on Hamas tunnels and military bases that he had been exposed to during his work in Gaza, the Shin Bet said.
The Borsh case “demonstrates how Hamas exploits the resources of international aid organisations at the expense of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip”, according to the statement.
Last Thursday, the Shin Bet announced the arrest of El-Halabi, 32, director of the Gaza branch of the international humanitarian aid organisation World Vision. It’s alleged he diverted funds intended for humanitarian aid to Hamas for the purchase of arms and construction of terror tunnels. The revelation prompted the Australian government to suspend funding to World Vision activities in the Palestinian territories.