World, Middle East

Hamas denies Netanyahu’s accusations on NGO funds

Netanyahu has accused Hamas of seizing funds provided by Gaza-based international relief organizations

Hamas denies Netanyahu’s accusations on NGO funds

By Ola Atallah

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian group Hamas has decried accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the group of seizing funds from Gaza-based international aid organizations.

In a Sunday statement, Hamas termed Netanyahu’s accusations as “lies” and “bare of truth”.

“These remarks were meant to deceive world public opinion, pressure international aid organizations in Gaza and justify the criminal blockade on the strip,” the statement said.

On Thursday, Netanyahu accused Hamas of “seizing funds provided by Gaza-based international relief organizations.”

In a video published on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said "many states submit generous aid for the benefit of Gazan children to provide them with required humanitarian aid, but Hamas exploits these money to establish a war machine to kill Israelis."

Hamas said that the Israeli premier will remain a “symbol of terrorism and criminality”.

“His lies will not beautify his criminal image,” the Palestinian group said.

On Tuesday, Israel arrested a U.N. aid worker in the blockaded Gaza Strip, accusing him of supporting Hamas.

The arrest of Waheed Borsh, an engineer for the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), follows last week's indictment of Mohammad al-Halabi, Gaza director of international Christian charity World Vision, who was similarly accused of redirecting some $7 million a year from the charity to Hamas.

In a statement, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency claimed that other aid workers -- in a number of organizations -- were also working for the Gaza-based resistance group.

Last week, World Vision denied Israel’s claims regarding al-Halabi, saying they contained discrepancies.

Since 2007, the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli siege that has deprived its roughly 1.9 million inhabitants of staple commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and building materials.

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