The strange case of Mohammed el Halabi

A Palestinian man jailed in Gaza by the Israeli authorities on the basis that he streamed $50 million from the Australian Government to Hamas, a organization labeled as being a terrorist group by both Israeli and Australian governments. Despite an audit by DFAT the Israelis continued to detain Mohamed el Halabi even though he has the full support of World Vision’s former CEO here in Australia, Kim Costello, the brother of the former treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello. Mohammed el Halabi is an agronomist by training, he worked hard with World Vision – supporting children traumatised by war and helping fishing and farming families to improve their livelihoods.

Nikita – Amnesty International (click CC for subtitles to overcome poor sound)

One can only conclude that Israeli authorities just pick up whom they wish and make up fictitious charges that could never be upheld in a properly constituted court of law. How does a young Palestinian man funnel money from the Australian Government to a so called terrorist organization? I really do not think we should be making an argument saying that Mohammed el Halabi should be released because he was innocent of sending money to Hamas … that makes Hamas look as evil as the Australian & Israeli governments say they are. Hamas are trying to defend their own people! They are desperate because the world stands by as genocide in an open air prison is afoot. Isn’t this the argument the Australian government is making in favour of the Ukranians taking up arms against the horrible Russian invaders? Why should Israeli soldiers’ invasion of Palestine be immune from criticism?

According to Tim Costello, the total budget for World Vision in Gaza is supposed to be $22 million. So, upon request from Israeli government, what does the Australian government do? Take away its aid allocation to Gaza. Shame! But is gets worse.

This is not an isolated incident. Israel cries Hamas and funds are withdrawn from other NGOs. Similar allegations were made against APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) which had received $11 million (approx) to assist projects in Gaza, Hebron and the camps in Beirut on a dollar for dollar basis. Then, it was alleged by right wing politicians both in Australia and Israel that Union Aid Abroad was funding Hamas instead of providing monies for agricultural projects in Gaza to grow fresh food.

Once again an audit was conducted. The funding of Union Aid Abroad was suspended entirely and eventually rescinded altogether. This is ludicrous. This highlights the conduct of Australian, Israeli and United States governments that, in concert with each other, are attempting to withdraw all funding from NGOs and welfare organizations in Palestine. UNWRA was set up because Palestinian land was stolen during Al Nakba in 1948. The UN set up humanitarian organisations to assist the refugee Palestinians who were evicted from their own houses.

Many Palestinians still carry the key to their residences which have been stolen by settlers under the full support of the Israeli military. So once again, we see the colonial settler states implement illegal policies and then claim that they are not ‘failed democracies’ themselves. Full democratic rights need to be restored to the 800,000 Palestinians who have been made political prisoners in their own land since the Six Day War in 1967. Over 780,000 people were displaced in 1948 creating one of the largest political diasporas in the 20th century.

Discussion

There are some practical ways in which you can turn back the tide against the apartheid state of Israel.

Please note that the QR code provided on the poster in the video takes you to an email to the Israeli Justice Minister. (@ https://apan.org.au/free_elhalabi/

Some people have good cause not to sign this letter because to do so requires that they give their names to the Israeli state. We already know how vindictive the Justice Minister has been towards Mohammed and other political prisoners. They are also vindictive to supporters from the union movement in Australia.

I asked one Palestinian if he was concerned about writing to the Israeli Justice Minister … he said he did not care (knowing the risks). But I think we should be cautious nevertheless. One activist who was refused entry to Gaza by the Israelis purely on the basis of his name. Another, a friend who used to be the secretary of a Queensland union was refused entry along with an APHEDA group a few years ago … it turned out that the part of Gaza they wished to go was to be bombed by the Israelis who did not want to have to explain Australian casualties. So the Israelis held them back till after the bombing of suspected Hamas neighbourhood. We cannot be looking for refuge by blaming Hamas especially while they are under attack.

Given the repercussions that may eventuate we need to caution activists to think about this before they send the email to the Israeli Minister for Justice. We need also to caution Amnesty International and World Vision. Tim Costello said: “Sadly because of the gravity of the accusations, World Vision and the government acted in the only way we could – suspending our much-needed programs to Gaza and commissioned our own investigations.” – Tim Costello in SMH article 21 June 2021.

Why suspend important aid money when you know the allegations are wrong? Why can’t people like the Costello’s see who the real terrorists are? Despite the best of intentions they may be making things worse for Mohammed and his family.

Please note that even an MP in the UK parliament, George Galloway, was savagely beaten on the streets of London by three Zionists. Why? Simply, for standing up to the apartheid state of Israel.

Ian Curr
2 April 2022

Free Free Mohamed El Halabi. Free Palestine, from the river to the sea.

Click CC to see subtitles

SPEAKERS

Wendy Turner, Vikki, Third Speaker, 4PR – Voice of the People

4PR – Voice of the People 

(Music in Background)Okay, we’re on Facebook Live today. Why are we here?

Wendy Turner 

To celebrate the birthday of Mohammed el Halabi, imprisoned by Israel for six years now, because he refused to agree to a plea bargain. Because he’s an innocent man. We all feel very proud (to support him).

4PR – Voice of the People 

How’s he gonna get a fair trial?

Wendy Turner 

He’s not gonna get (a fair trial) that’s why we need to put the pressure on the Ministry of Justice in Israel, and also our foreign minister.

Vikki 

We need to put pressure on Israel. And to that end we have got a QR code that people can actually click on and to directly send those letters to those to make a huge difference (inaudible) … letter so far.

4PR – Voice of the People 

So this is Mohammed el Halabi (pointing at picture on poster). Can you tell us a little bit about him as a person?

Vikki 

As you can see, he worked with World Vision and (inaudible) for a number of years. And he was accused by the Israelis of funneling money, which is proved incorrect, (inaudible = has faced??) several trials on it. World Vision has said he hasn’t done it (transferred the money)..

4PR – Voice of the People 

And what’s this map behind showing us … this is a good one. Yeah?

Vikki 

We have a very simple map that shows Palestine in 1946. Before it became partitioned by the UN and in 1947, (inaudible) And then you come to 1967, with the six days war … and now you can see that it’s pretty much you describe it as

4PR – Voice of the People 

So Mohammad comes from Gaza. Yes, is that right? And what? And what is his? What is his work? What does he do?

Vikki 

He is in prison now, but he was a manager for World Vision, an NGO that’s run by Tim Costello.

4PR – Voice of the People 

And that’s, that’s to help children, isn’t it?

Vikki 

Absolutely. It’s to help.

4PR – Voice of the People 

So why have they accused him of embezzling the money?

Vikki 

Because basically, what we’re trying to do is, in my opinion, to imprison anybody that shows any kind of leadership potential, getting them in jail to get them out of the way.

4PR – Voice of the People 

There are a lot of political prisoners in in Palestine. And he’s one of them, but he’s pretty high profile. It sounds.

Third Speaker 

We are here to speak up for all the political prisoners in Israeli captivity. Some of them have not had the chance to defend themselves. In a court of law, they are held without charge.

Mohammed el Halabi is an Australian that DFAT has found that actually(there) is no money missing. So if there’s no money missing, how can one misappropriate funds? But we’re here to speak for all the political prisioners.

4PR – Voice of the People 

Now when you say we are here, who are we?

Vikki

Yep. This, this actual action is a collaboration between Amnesty International APAN. And what they do is they approached local communities to find out which Palestinian groups are there and they asked just to be supposed to, but it’s actually an event organised by Amnesty.

4PR – Voice of the People 

Now I’m noticing we’ve got a few people watching now (on fb live), what can they do to help?

Vikki 

Well, the best thing you can do is, is talk to your neighbours. Educate yourself (pointing to the map).

4PR – Voice of the People 

Which you talked about the map of disappearing Palestine?

Vikki 

Anyone would like it? Yeah. You can get the seeker. Yep. Put it on your team put it on some way visible to let people know that this is an issue.

4PR – Voice of the People 

So we’re giving a message to the Australian Government. It’s their money. They’ve got to do something about this guy.

Vikki 

This is an Australian charity. Charity

4PR – Voice of the People 

Okay, is there anything you want to add? Anything to add is I would like everybody to click on that

Vikki 

(There’s a) QR code. Yep. Click on that code and home. Yeah, there it is that

Vikki 

get in touch with us to find people. Justice Department in Israel and our Department of Foreign Affairs to make sure we put pressure on them.

4PR – Voice of the People 

Thank you very much. Good onya. Okay, we’re signing off here from the vigil, its about to begin. You can watch it at home or on Facebook Live. Or you can just come down here if you want to … See ya people.

One thought on “The strange case of Mohammed el Halabi

  1. Israel extends detention of World Vision Gaza Director after ‘baseless’ Hamas-links accusation

    Israel will extend the detention of Mohammed El Halabi, the former head of World Vision in Gaza, who has been detained for six years without being convicted under unfounded accusations of funnelling money to Hamas.

    Mohammed

    Human Rights Watch
    @hrw
    Israeli authorities should immediately release Mohammad al-Halabi, a humanitarian worker from Gaza.

    Reference
    https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/israel-extends-detention-palestinian-aid-worker

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