A senior Gaza-based employee of US-headquartered charity World Vision appeared in an Israeli court on Tuesday, charged with numerous counts of ‘supporting terrorism’.
According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), Mohammad al-Halabi infiltrated the charity on behalf of Hamas, redirecting tens of millions of dollars to Al-Qassam Brigades over many years.
But to the consternation of Halabi’s lawyer, family, and colleagues, as well as diplomats and human rights workers, the trial – which reconvenes in October – is being conducted entirely in secret. Read more
Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.
The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities. Read more
In recent days, Israeli authorities have announced charges against two, Gaza-based employees of international NGOs – one from World Vision, one from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Each individual faces accusations of varying degrees of assisting Hamas.
Many have expressed scepticism about the charges, particularly given the lack of due process. Mohammed Halabi, for example, was detained without charge for 50 days and alleges that he was tortured by Shin Bet officials during his interrogation. He was also denied access to a lawyer for three weeks. Read more
Six-year-old Israa Abu Khussa and her 10-year-old brother Yassin were still sleeping when the Israel Air Force launched four airstrikes across the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday. Missile fragments tore through their home, only partly rebuilt following the 2014 offensive. Yassin and Israa were rushed to hospital, but both died of their wounds. Two other children were injured. Read more
Almost a year on from the beginning of Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and the ceasefire that ended hostilities has largely held, albeit with dozens of Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians, the continued blockade, and some half a dozen rocket launches. While the Israeli army and Palestinian factions prepare themselves in the event of a new confrontation, recent developments suggest that Gaza stands between the deterioration of a tense stand-off and a more substantial truce. Read more
During the last couple of weeks, Westminster lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has been pushing its new publication on Gaza, the key message of which is that the reconstruction of the fenced-in enclave should be contingent on its demilitarisation.
My intention here is not to set out the clear, legal and moral, arguments against LFI’s ‘disarmament for development’ approach – indeed, leading NGOs have already done so. Rather, I would like to make a different point with regards to Israel advocacy in Western capitals. Read more