The arrest of Mohammed El Halabi, the head of World Vision’s Gaza branch, unsettled not only World Vision International, with its annual budget of $US2.7 billion (including substantial Canadian donations) but also the many political activists that have made entire careers in mixing aid for Palestinians with harsh anti-Israel advocacy.
The issue is not where and how humanitarian agencies work, but rather the due diligence that should accompany this work when the aid involves terrorism, warlords, and tyrants. World Vision has rejected the allegations about El Halabi by citing audits allegedly performed on their financial records. But standard financial audits in terror-run areas such as Gaza, are useless, particularly when aid includes cash for projects, equipment and shipments of food. Realistically, no auditing firm can possibly track diversions in a closed area governed by corruption, violence and fear.
The absence of due diligence in World Vision’s financial accounting for activities in Gaza should also be of serious concern to Canadians, which are among the major supporters of the worldwide operations of this organisation. The government-funded Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is listed as a major donor to World Vision.