Israeli security forces arrested a humanitarian aid worker from the Gaza Strip on charges he was exploiting his position at the United Nations Development Programme to provide assistance to the Hamas terror organization.
This is the second such indictment of a Palestinian aid worker operating for Hamas in Gaza in less than a week.
Waheed Borsh was arrested on July 16 by the Israel Police and the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency), the Shin Bet revealed on Tuesday.
Borsh, from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, has worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Gaza as an engineer since 2003. His areas of responsibility include demolishing houses damaged during armed conflicts and clearing the rubble from the sites.
Borsh’s investigation revealed that he had been instructed by a senior Hamas member to execute his work for the UNDP in a way that serves Hamas’ military interests.
Borsh confessed that he carried out activities that aided Hamas. For example, last year he helped build a military jetty in the northern Gaza Strip – utilizing UNDP resources – to be used by Hamas’ naval forces.
Also in 2015, he acted to persuade UNDP managers to prioritize the rehabilitation of housing in areas populated by Hamas members. Borsh was acting in response to a request by Hamas.
‘Blatant and Aggressive’ Exploitation of UN Aid
During his questioning, Borsh disclosed information regarding cases in which Hamas “blatantly and aggressively” exploited UNDP humanitarian activities for its own purposes, the Shin Bet said.
For example, when weapons or terrorist tunnel openings were discovered in houses being handled by the UNDP, Hamas would take control of the site and confiscate the arms and other materials.
“This violates clear UN procedures, according to which the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is supposed to be immediately notified, as the UNMAS is the UN body in charge of dealing with explosive remnants of war,” the Shin Bet underscored.
Borsh also disclosed information on Hamas tunnels and military bases, which he had been exposed to during his work in Gaza.
According to Borsh, other Palestinians who work for aid organizations are also working for Hamas and involved in terrorism.
“This case – along with last week’s case in which Hamas operative Mohammed El-Halabi infiltrated the World Vision humanitarian aid NGO in order to divert funds and other resources for use in Hamas’ efforts – demonstrates how Hamas exploits the resources of international aid organizations at the expense of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet stated.
Borsh was indicted in a civilian court in southern Israel on Tuesday. He was charged with assisting Hamas, an internationally-recognized Islamist terrorist organization.
‘Not an Isolated Case’
The UNDP is one of the world’s largest multilateral development agencies. It conducts development and rehabilitation projects for the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip, which include assisting in the rehabilitation of housing damaged during armed conflicts.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to put an end to the exploitation of the UN by the Hamas terrorist organization.
“This is not an isolated case, but rather a troubling trend of the systematic exploitation by Hamas terrorists of UN organizations,” Danon charged. “If the UN truly wants to better the lives of the residents of Gaza, it must remove every employee working for the Hamas and sever all ties with organizations aiding terrorists. Only by implementing strict oversight mechanisms can the UN ensure that they are not exploited by the vicious terrorists whose only aim is to murder Jews and destroy the State of Israel.”