Be’er Sheva (Jonathan Benedek/TPS) – An engineer employed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Gaza, 38-year-old Waheed Borsh, was indicted on Tuesday in Israel’s Southern District Court.
The indictment accuses Borsh of using his position at the UNDP to prioritize projects in accordance with Hamas interests and to funnel resources to Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organization in Israel, the United States and the European Union that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
The indictment of Borsh, a resident of Jabaliya, Gaza who was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israeli police on July 16, follows last week’s similar indictment of an employee for the Christian humanitarian aid organization, World Vision.
In light of both indictments occurring within a week’s time of each other, Israel’s Foreign Ministry called upon the UN and its humanitarian aid organizations to not only denounce Hamas for using employees of humanitarian aid organizations to its benefit, but also to commit to preventing such occurrences from repeating themselves.
“We expect the United Nations and especially its aid organizations to condemn Hamas unequivocally for exploiting the aid mechanism, and to take significant action to ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches those who need it and not the terror chiefs of Hamas,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
During the investigation, Borsh admitted to having followed through on instructions from top Hamas officials, to use his engineering position with UNDP for Hamas’ benefit. Last year, Borsh funneled UNDP resources towards the construction of a military jetty to be used by Hamas’ naval forces. In 2015, he made sure that UNDP resources for housing rehabilitation would be prioritized in neighborhoods where a high percentage of the residents were active Hamas members.
Of particular significance among the details revealed during the Borsh’s interrogation is that there are still many other Palestinians employed at aid agencies who are in fact agents of Hamas. Borsh also provided information that he collected during his time of employment at UNDP, regarding Hamas’ military bases and underground tunnel network.
The Hamas terrorist organization denied the allegations and instead called upon the international community to stop Israel from “intensifying its siege of the Gaza Strip.”
“The allegations are part of the Israeli plan to intensify the siege of the Gaza Strip,” Hamas responded. “We warn the Israeli occupation not to continue this policy, and call on the international community to take responsibility for these actions, which will lead to grave consequences if they continue.”
Michael Bachner and Tzvi Lev contributed to this report.