Deadly Naïveté

Turns out Iran isn’t the only one sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East. So are the United Nations and World Vision, a missionary group which has allegedly funneled tens of millions of dollars to Hamas under the guise of “humanitarian aid.” What’s more, according to former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, the two senior administrators of charity programs in Gaza who were indicted last week for exploiting their positions on behalf of Hamas are just the tip of the iceberg.

The two, Wahid Borsh of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Mohammed Halabi of World Vision, diverted many millions of dollars from projects aimed at improving the quality of life for Gazan residents to terror projects. These include paying salaries for members of Hamas’ “military wing,” building military bases, purchasing weapons, digging tunnels and even building a marina that can be used by Hamas naval commandos for the launching of terror attacks by sea.

Borsh, an engineer who was in charge of restoring homes hit during military engagements, notified Hamas as soon as he discovered weapons depots or tunnel entrances under the rubble of damaged buildings, so that it could come and take control of the area. He’s been working for the United Nations since 2003. Halabi infiltrated World Vision, a billion-dollar Christian charity with more than 45,000 employees, in 2005.

Were the United Nations and World Vision duped? Of course not. What responsible charity would blindly give tens of millions of dollars to local operators in Gaza and not follow up to ensure that the money was spent for its designated purpose? Is there no accounting in the United Nations? No transparency? Did no one ask why the number of homeless wasn’t dropping?

“The fact that the donating world, which is recruited to help refugees and the needy, doesn’t understand that its cash is being pumped for terror uses … is … naïve … to the point of being hideous,” says Dichter, a Likud MK who heads the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

In truth, calling the United Nations naïve would be letting it off the hook. Almost all the U.N. aid workers in Gaza are members of Hamas.

“When you look at groups like the United Nations and enlightened countries that … fall into the trap set for them by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it just is amazing to see the extent and power with which it plays out year after year after year,” Dichter observes.

It’s time for all these “enlightened” organizations and countries to stop doing the bidding of terror organizations. The first step is to put a complete halt to all funding to Gaza until the donors establish an effective mechanism for monitoring how their funds are spent. No checks and balances? No checks. Period.

Secondly, international organizations have to do a better job of screening personnel and supervising them. True, you don’t find graduates of Wharton in Gaza City, but there are things that can be done to keep employees in check. Banks routinely rotate clerks among their branches and force them to take vacations in order to ensure transparency, and similar strategies can be used to prevent Hamas terrorists from seizing control of charities.

Finally, the donor nations and agencies must recognize that Hamas is not just the enemy of Israel, but the enemy of the Arab residents of Gaza, who find themselves repeatedly victimized by the terror organization.

They are victimized when Hamas stores its weapons under their homes, schools and hospitals and uses them and their children as protective shields.

They are victimized when Hamas fires missiles on Israeli civilians, forcing a fierce response from the IDF that demolishes entire apartment blocks, leaving thousands of civilians homeless.

And they are victimized when humanitarian aid that is meant to rebuild those homes is seized by Hamas tyrants and used for tunnels and missiles, which will ultimately just restart the cycle of suffering for both Jews and Arabs.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry informed the U.N. Secretary-General’s office and the heads of the UNDP organization in New York that one of their employees had been arrested for using his U.N. position on behalf of Hamas. Similar notice was issued to World Vision.

In response, the UNDP said it “has zero tolerance for wrongdoing in all of its programs and projects.” World Vision said: “If proven by a due legal process, these actions deserve unreserved condemnation; Gaza’s demoralized and vulnerable citizens deserve so much better.”

But such statements aren’t nearly enough. As the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “We also expect concrete action to be taken to ensure that the humanitarian aid resources reach the ones who need it and not Hamas terror mongers.”

That is the least the residents of Israel, the intended victims of Hamas’ aggression, and the residents of Gaza, the unintended victims of naïve charity organizations, have a right to expect.