Israeli court says the Palestinian who directed humanitarian aid in Gaza was secretly working for Hamas.
An Israeli court convicted Mohammad el-Halabi, former Gaza director for World Vision International, on terrorism charges Wednesday. The Beersheba District Court ruled that he is guilty of being a member of a terror organization, providing information to a terror group, taking part in forbidden military exercises, and carrying a weapon.
Halabi has not yet been sentenced. He is expected to appeal the ruling.
Halabi’s attorney, speaking to reporters immediately after the verdict was handed down, rejected the fairness of the judgment of the court.
“All the judge said, if I want to summarize it in one sentence, [was]: ‘The security forces cannot be wrong, they are probably right,’” Maher Hanna said.
Israeli state prosecutors accused Halabi of aiding Hamas terrorists by diverting millions of dollars from World Vision International to arm militants in Gaza. Halabi and his supporters adamantly denied these charges and claim the Israeli authorities were merely looking for a way to disrupt humanitarian aid that was going to Palestinian children.
World Vision has defended Halabi, arguing the available evidence does not support the government’s claims the former director supported terrorism. He did not even have access to the amount of funds that authorities said he gave to Hamas.
On Wednesday, the humanitarian aid group reiterated its “significant concerns about this case” and acknowledged “with disappointment the decision issued by the Beersheva District Court.”
The statement went on to say that “in our view there have been irregularities in the trial process and a lack of substantive, publicly available evidence. We support Mohammad’s intent to appeal the decision, …