For the second time in one week, an international aid worker in the Gaza Strip has been accused of providing assistance to terrorist organization Hamas.
Israel's security agency, the Shin Bet, and Israel Police lifted a gag order yesterday. It revealed that a United Nations aid worker from the city of Jabalia in Gaza, 38-year-old Wahid Abdullah Burash, was arrested last month on suspicion that he was using his job at the UN Development Program (UNDP) to assist in Hamas operations. An indictment was filed against Burash at the Beersheba District Court, charging him with aiding the Gazan terrorist group.
The announcement comes less than a week after World Vision employee Mohammad Halabi was accused of funneling some $50 million in charity funds to Hamas.
The UNDP works to rehabilitate and develop infrastructure, including damaged homes, in the Gaza Strip in order to improve the lives of local residents. Burash has worked as an engineer at the program since 2003. As part of his job, he was responsible for demolishing homes damaged in military clashes and removing waste from the demolition sites.
The Shin Bet investigation revealed that in 2014, Burash was instructed by a senior Hamas official to carry out his work in a manner that would provide maximum benefit for Hamas. In 2015, he used UNDP resources to build a marine dock for the use of Hamas' military wing in northern Gaza.
It was further revealed that throughout 2015, Burash, acting on Hamas orders, worked with his superiors to give preference to rehabilitation projects in areas where Hamas operatives live.
The investigation also found that Hamas deliberately exploited UNDP projects throughout 2015. Weapons and terror tunnel shafts were found in homes that had been rebuilt by the UNDP and taken over by Hamas. This violates UN protocol, according to which all explosives and weapons must be reported to the United Nations Mine Action Service.
Investigators learned that other Hamas operatives are embedded in a variety of humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza.
Burash also revealed information about Hamas storehouses, outposts and tunnels that he had learned about in his work.
Hamas vehemently denied the charges brought against Burash. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, "The accusations are baseless and false, and they are part of the Zionist occupation's attempt to worsen the siege on Gaza by persecuting international aid organizations."
This is a lightly edited version of the original report by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=35589