By Vacy Vlazna
“The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says an internal review into World Vision funding in Gaza has uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government aid funding to Hamas.” — ABC
The blow to Israel’s credibility is colossal because,
- the investigation had teeth, fangs in this case, as “DFAT has in place rigorous processes to investigate any report that aid funding has been misappropriated, consistent with DFAT’s Fraud Control and Anti-Corruption Plan”
- the refutation comes from Australia, one of Israel’s most subservient apologists: on Netanyahu’s recent list PM Turnbull chundered the empty cliches that Australia and Israel “have much in common. Shared values, democracy, freedom, the rule of law. Two great democracies – one very small in area, one vast, but each of us big-hearted, generous, committed to freedom.” Definitely in common is their disregard for international law affirmed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who “committed Australia to continue defending Israel in hostile international forums” including the ICC and she had firmly announced that Australia would not have supported UN Resolution 2334 that confirmed Israel’s settlements are illegal.
- the refutation has left egg on the faces of Netanyahu and Dore Gold, the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs MFA ( really- Ministry of Fools and Amateurs) for the elaborate fiction, created by an MFA gang of wanna-be Ian Flemings, that turned Mohammad Al Halabi, a hardworking UN recognized humanitarian hero, into a dastardly super-secret agent who infiltrated World Vision and channeled 50 phantom million dollars to Hamas thus promoting the strategic interests of Iran and, wait for it, ISIS! Yes, and to top it all, this mild-mannered loving man apparently thwarted the vast Shin Bet apparatus of ex-military thugs, agents, spies, and collaborators for 10 years!! 10 years! BTW the Head of Shin Bet reports directly to Netanyahu. Furthermore, Dor Gold stupidly sent the Al-Halabi-aka-James-Bond profile of fantasy crimes to his foreign affairs counterparts around the world. Ooops!
Israel counts on lies trumping facts, but it has cried ‘wolf,’ ‘terrorists,’ ‘boo hoo we are victims’ too often. The sham accusations began unravelling from the start with World Vision’s assertion that it conducts scrupulous checks and balances, for example “Any payment over $80 needed two signatures, with anything over $15,000 signed off by the national office in Jerusalem” and audits are conducted annually through Price Waterhouse Coopers that show no diversion of WV resources.
Meanwhile, despite torture and 9 months of wrongful incarceration, Al-Halabi has stood by his innocence, denied the allegations as well as a ‘confession’, and refused a three year plea deal.
So why this murky deceptive political terrorism aimed to demonize and destroy a reputable humanitarian organization?
Well, first and foremost, Israel’s attack on humanitarian NGO’s is integral to its policy of ethnic cleansing through lebensraum i.e. removing all Palestinians from their ancestral land to achieve the final goal of Eretz Israel from the river to the sea, by making life unliveable for the indigenous Palestinians.
Second, pay back for recalcitrant NGO’s that dare to criticize Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. In August 2015, World Vision joined human rights organizations in a public call to end the Gaza blockade. World Vision had stood strong on opposing the Annexation Wall and the Gaza siege until – World Vision Australia CEO, Tim Costello’s capitulation in November 2016 when he parroted zionist propaganda to the Australian Jewish News (AJN),
“that he has changed his opinion on the security wall between the West Bank and Israel.
“At the time [the wall was built] I was critical, but I now have a different view,” he said.
“I see that wall has saved lives.
“My dream is still a two-state settlement, people living together without a wall.”
When speaking about Gaza, Costello referred to it as “a sad social experiment” to see if “a blockade and consequent suffering cures people of terrorism”.
“I don’t think that it’s Israel’s fault,” he said, “but I just think it’s very sad that we have to say this isn’t working and see if there is another way.”
He also conceded that the focus of criticism on Israel is unfair, as Egypt, which also has a border with Gaza, should also be pressured into lifting its blockade.”
To intimate that the impoverished, traumatized people, the mothers, fathers, children and old folk, he serves in Gaza are part of a ‘sad social experiment’ (Josef Mengele comes to mind) to cure them of terrorism is obscene and then blame the Palestinian victims as it’s not Israel’s fault. That decades of horrific suffering caused by zionist violence and theft of Palestine is not Israel’s fault is the dregs. One wonders what pressure was forced on Costello to make him dump his principles and integrity. Standing firm and exposing the pressure would have been another, better way.
There are inescapable patterns of cause and effect in human life; and one is Hubris (wanton violence, god-defying arrogance) of which literature and history warn us. Netanyahu, Bush, Blair, Obama, Trump, Kim Jong-Un are today’s Ozymandias and they are fated to eventual despair and nothingness. The sooner the better.
-Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.