Mohammad Al Halabi
( Photo Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency )

An UN document, Why  teach about the Holocaust asserts,

“Never  before  had  civilians  been  targeted  by  military  planners  with  such  disregard  for  human life.  Never before had a state pursued, as a matter of national policy, the complete and total destruction of groups identified as unworthy of living.”

For the people of Palestine suffering the savage and sadistic 72-year Zionist occupation this sounds chillingly familiar. These are but 2 instances of  the Nazification of Israeli policies and the Jewish state has recently added to its genocide arsenal the destruction of NGOs that are the the lifeline of survival for Palestinians particularly in god-forsaken Gaza.

Bear in mind in every Holocaust museum around the world there a considered focus on the most vulnerable human victims – children.

The arrest of Mohammad Al Halabi

Israel targeted NGOs and Palestinian children in one fell swoop in the June 2016 arrest of Mohammad Al Halabi, the World Vision- Australia director of the West Bank and Gaza.

For a decade, Mohammad, a family man and “trusted colleague” had worked tirelessly on children’s’ programs for World Vision. On World Humanitarian Day celebrating aid workers in the middle of yet another Israeli assault in 2014, El-Halabi was profiled by the UN as a Humanitarian Hero – a truly well-deserved honour when one considers the horrors Palestinian families face, and particularly aid workers at the emergency front of the carnage, destruction and suffering.

His decades of humanitarian care tackled the atrocities of Israel’s war crimes during Operation Cast Lead 2008-9, Operation Pillar of Defence 2012 and in 2014, the monstrous 51-day war on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge.

World Vision made a statement during the 2014 assault when Israel slaughtered 2220 Palestinians including 547 children,

“All of the children in World Vision’s Northern Gaza Area Development Program have been displaced from their homes and are seeking sanctuary in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools and other shelters……Tragically, World Vision has lost children involved in our programs. Mustafa, a 9-year-old boy from Shaboura camp, was killed when an Israeli jet bombed their three story family home on July 21. Eight of his family members were also killed, with remaining family members confirming they received no warnings prior to the attack.”

This good man of remarkable humanitarian calibre, like all families in Gaza, is shadowed by post-traumatic stress disorder and the daily incessant stress of the Zionist siege. Trauma is the perennial toxic air Gazans breathe and has a devastating effect  on Gaza’s children who since 2008 have suffered 3 traumatic wars.

The work of NGOs is an essential service, Mohammad’s work was essential. In 2018 a petition signed by 1000 Gazan children calling for Mohammad’s freedom is testimony to their love and appreciation.

On arrest, Mohammad was held incognito without charge or access to a lawyer for 25 days by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) aka Shin Bet. Despite being tortured to the point he lost hearing in one ear, he stood by his innocence and refused a plea deal.

Israel had accused him of funnelling 50 million phantom dollars of Australian aid to Hamas. After forensic investigations, the fake accusation was officially dismissed by World Vision and the Australian government in March 2017: “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”. Nevertheless the Australian government shamefully threw Mohammad to Netanyahu’s wolves.

So why has Israel nailed Mohammad Al Halabi’s life and innocence to the Star of  David?

Mohammad Al Halabi is a sacrificial scapegoat whose every additional day of suffering ramps up Israel’s war on NGOs and amplifies the intimidation of all NGOs to fall into line with Israel, to cease criticising Israel’s crimes against humanity, and to cease assisting the Palestinians.

The Jewish state’s war on NGOs

In 2012 Israel lost its case against World Vision for allegedly providing “financial aid to a Gaza-based terrorist group”, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which is simply a humanitarian non-profit company. The charge was investigated by AusAID and the Australian Federal Police which concluded there was no evidence.

A State of Israel 2018 Report, THE MONEY TRAIL: The Millions Given by EU Institutions to NGOs with Ties to Terror and Boycotts against Israel May 2018, points its crooked finger at a number of respectable and ethical NGOs: European Union, PAX Christi, Care International, Action Aid, Norwegian People’s Aid, Australian DFAT,  Diakonia, Oxfam,  Save the Children, EuroMed Rights, Sida,  Trocaire, DanChurchAid, Christian Aid, Svenska Kyrkan, We Effect, War on Want etc.

In August 2015, World Vision joined  human rights organisations in a public call to end the Gaza blockade. World Vision had stood strong on opposing the Annexation Wall and the Gaza siege until –  the then World Vision-Australia  CEO, Tim Costello’s capitulation in November 2016, 5 months after Mohammad’s incarceration, when he parroted zionist propaganda to the Australian Jewish News,

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.”

It is obscene to intimate that the impoverished, traumatised people, the mothers, fathers, children and old folk, Costello served in Gaza are part of a ‘sad social experiment’ (Josef Mengele comes to mind) to cure them of terrorism  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 moral dregs. One wonders what pressure was forced on Costello to make him dump his principles and integrity.

Come stand up for Mohammad

The Israeli ‘justice’ department holds Mohammed Al Halabi in Raymon Prison, Negev Desert and has sadistically coerced Mohammad to attend fake court 151 times. His mental and psychological health has gravely deteriorated.

He is due in court on the 18th of November 2020.

Standing by Mohammad is in truth standing against a greater evil: the Jewish state’s   intimidation of NGOs hides a covert pressure on NGOs to leave because,

  1. a)   their very presence counters Israel’s denial of war crimes
  2. b)  their work makes Palestinian life bearable undoing Israel’s genocidal efforts to make Palestinian existence unliveable so that Israel’s lebensraum goals are achieved.

Please demand Israel releases Mohammad Al Halabi immediately because Israel as a UN member is obligated to uphold and protect Mohammad’s human rights who is a protected person under international humanitarian law, and is entitled to all of the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

To: Avi Nissenkorn, Israeli Minister for Justice sar@justice.gov.il,

Cc: Michael Lynk UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories mslynk@uwo.ca

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She is the author of  East Timor: Reveille for Courage, editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name and writes political commentary for a number of independent online magazines. 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.


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