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Israelís false claims about World Vision

By Stuart Rees - posted Thursday, 11 August 2016


The Israeli government has charged Mr. Mohammed El Halabi, the Gazan representative of the Christian Charity World Vision, with funnelling up to $50 million over six years to Hamas, the fundamentalist group which governs the Gaza Strip.

Tim Costello, the Director of World Vision, says that even the figures mentioned are implausible. World Vision is estimated to give Gaza approximately $3 million per year so how does an estimated $18 million over six years suddenly become $50 million ?  

Who else cares as long as it is the Israeli government and its allies who make such claims ? 

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Courage in short supply

Mr.El Halibi has been held in jail for 25 days without being charged, without being able to see members of his family, a lawyer or a representative of his employer. Despite such abuses of basic human rights, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can’t find the courage to insist that no-one can be considered guilty until proven otherwise. Instead it reacts, as it almost always does, by bending to Israel and immediately suspending aid to the Gaza Strip and to the West Bank.

For many reasons, Australian authorities should never automatically accept an Israeli government’s claims. But to resist Israel and their powerful - Zionist oriented- lobby groups, courage is required. The trouble is, that quality is so often in short supply.

It is not difficult to defend World Vision, Mr. El Halabi, the people of Gaza and of the West Bank.

There has been a concerted campaign against the Australian Charity.El Halibi’s imprisonment  is an outcome of a series of falsehoods and other injustices.

The Tel Aviv law firm Shurat HaDin (SHD), often described as a lawfare agency and advised by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is a key part of that campaign. For years it has been saying that World Vision funds are used to promote terrorism.

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SHD, an organization with financial power and political influence, is preoccupied with bullying and prosecuting anyone who advocates justice for the Palestinians. I should know. A couple of years ago Shurat HaDin threatened me and my colleague Jake Lynch with charges that we were racist and therefore anti-Semitic. They did not proceed with action against me but for six months maintained a prosecution of Dr Lynch in an Australian Federal Court. The judge ruled against Shurat HaDin on every count. That did not hinder this organization’s  commitment to demonizing those who support the besieged people of Gaza and to file baseless lawsuits against them.   

The catch-all label "terrorism"

Ali Abuminah, the distinguished, US based, editor of the online journal Electronic Intifada shows that Shurat HaDin is a proxy for Israel’s spying and assassination agency Mossad and has for years been trying to undermine the work of World Vision. To generate fear, harness anti-terrorist groups and energize the mainstream media, a key technique is to throw around the catch-all word ‘terrorism’.  

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About the Author

Stuart Rees is Professor Emeritus of the University of Sydney and Founder of the Sydney Peace Foundation. He is the former Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation (1998-2011) and of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (1988-2008), and a Professor of Social Work (1978-2000) at the University of Sydney.

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