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Israeli soldiers critically wound Palestinian child in Qaddum protests

Israeli soldiers fire live ammunition at anti-occupation protesters in Kufr Qaddum, critically wounding a 10-year-old child.

By +972 Magazine Staff

A 10-year-old Palestinian child is in critical condition after Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at an anti-occupation protest in Kufr Qaddum on Friday. Abdul Rahman Yaser Shtewi was shot in the head with a live bullet and is undergoing surgery at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, according to a Facebook statement by the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Dozens of protesters — mainly residents of the village joined by some international and Israeli activists — were demonstrating against the Israeli army’s closure of their main access road to Nablus, the nearest West Bank city.

“In eight years [of protests], the army has never responded in such a crazy way as it did today,” said Murad Shtewi, one of the coordinators of the popular protests in the village and a relative of the wounded child.

“The army has used violence in the past, even fired live bullets before, but today, they fired directly [at protesters] in an attempt to suppress our demonstrations,” he added.

Shtewi explained that, once the soldiers began firing live ammunition, the organizers pulled all the protesters back into the village. The soldiers kept on firing, though. He believes the child, who Shtewi said was merely an onlooker and was not involved in the demonstration, was wounded as protesters were retreating.

“The occupation must answer to the crimes it committed today,” said Shtewi. “I urge all human rights organizations, all children’s rights organizations, UNICEF, to get involved immediately and investigate this incident.”


Kufr Qaddum lies on the main road between the northern West Bank cities of Qalqilya and Nablus. The village itself is situated in Area B, an Oslo Accords designation that puts the Palestinian Authority in charge of civil and administrative matters there. Most of the village’s lands, however, are located in Area C, which is under complete Israeli military control.

For the past eight years, the Palestinian residents of Qaddum have been staging weekly popular protests against the Israeli army’s closure of their main access road. The army closed the road to Palestinian traffic in 2003, citing security concerns to a nearby Israeli settlement partly built on the village’s land.

As a result, Kufr Qaddum residents are forced to take a more circuitous route in order to drive to Nablus, one of the West...

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PODCAST: Exposing Israel's arms sales to oppressive regimes

Attorney Eitay Mack is one of the only people in Israel challenging the secrecy of Israel’s military exports to despotic regimes around the world.

Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify


Israeli human rights lawyer Eitay Mack is working to uncover both Israel’s historic ties to brutal military regimes, such as Pinochet’s Chile, as well as its current arms exports to countries carrying out gross violations of human rights, like South Sudan and Myanmar.

Israel’s ticket to becoming an arms exporter — with deals dating as far back as the 1950s, when the global arms industry was already saturated — is Israel’s “no questions asked” policy, explains Mack: “You don’t criticize what we are doing in the occupied territories and inside Israel, and we won’t say anything and won’t ask questions about what you’re doing.”

Can you explain what Israel’s arms industry looks like?

“What’s unique in the Israeli arms industry is that it’s very centralized. It’s been controlled, and there’s oversight on it by very few people in the government, in the Ministry of Defense.”

“Very few people in Israel know where our weapons are going, and very few people are in the decision-making circle. There’s a lot of secrecy. What is also unique in Israel is that there’s no transparency, and there’s no interest for transparency by the Israeli media.”

“What’s funny about it, and this is the way I could do my work, is that most of the time, all the information is open outside. We see it especially in the last years, because with all the media and social media, a lot of dictators and security forces all around the world have their own Facebook page, and they have interest to publish that they are getting Israeli weapons and Israeli training.”

How is it that a country that has sanctions on it is still able to do business with Israel when it comes to arms?

“The way that Israel manages to continue selling to these kinds of regimes and countries is because Israeli law is allowing it. Israeli law doesn’t mention any consideration of human rights. The only consideration that the Israeli law says is that if there is a UN Security Council embargo, which is very rare because the superpowers have veto rights. In many places around the world, like...

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Ethiopians have an opportunity at solidarity with Palestinians. Will they take it?

Solomon Tekah was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer because he was black. As a Palestinian I know exactly what that feels like.

By Ashraf Ghandour

For over a week I have watched Ethiopian Israelis conduct a loud and righteous struggle against the systematic racism that has held them down for 35 years. As a Palestinian, as a person of color, I could not help but feel empathy for their pain, along with a strange sense of bewilderment when I saw Israelis of all stripes failing to connect the just struggle of Ethiopians to those of other groups oppressed by Israel.

But Solomon Tekah was shot because he was Black, and because I am a Palestinian I had to keep listening closely.

Tekah, a 19-year-old Ethiopian Israeli man, was shot in his own neighborhood last week by an off-duty police officer in a suburb of Haifa. Following the shooting, thousands of members of the Ethiopian community took to the streets to protest the way their people are being treated by law enforcement, in an attempt to draw public awareness to the oppression Israelis of Ethiopian decent have faced since they began immigrating to Israel in the mid-80s.

Yet the Israeli media immediately chose to focus on the violence and acts of vandalism by some Ethiopian protesters against police, including by dehumanizing the protesters and calling them “animals.” Much of the coverage revolved far more around the way white civilians were affected by the disruptions on Israel’s main roads than the plight of the protesters themselves.


I heard academics of Ethiopian descent speak on behalf of the protesters, comparing their fight to that of the Black communities in America thousands of miles away. Yet the majority of those who spoke publicly actively ignored the plight of four million Palestinians held in the open-air prisons of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the 1.9 million Palestinian citizens of Israel who make up 20 percent of the population but make up over half of its prison population.

Palestinians who point out that these two forms of oppression are born of the same oppressor have been met with resistance from the Ethiopian community, which prefers to distance itself from such associations.

Solomon’s killing, and the response by most Israelis, is reminiscent of the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson,...

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In Israel just as NY, racial profiling harms more than just victims of police killings

The judge who oversaw New York City’s stop and frisk case for nearly a decade responds to the shooting of an unarmed black man in northern Israel.

By Shira Scheindlin

I have been reading, with a troubling sense of déjà vu, about the police shooting of Solomon Tekah, an unarmed Ethiopian-Israeli man, in Haifa last week. As the judge who oversaw the “stop and frisk” case in New York City for nearly a decade, I am all too familiar with police racial profiling and the harm it causes to the police force, the victims of police violence, and the community at large.

Those harms are not any different based on the location in which they occur. They are just as devastating in Israel as they are in the United States, where black and brown people are the most vulnerable populations.

In New York, the mayor and police commissioner decided back in the late 1990s that the increased use of stop and frisk would reduce crime. Between 2004 and 2012 the NYPD conducted more than 4.4 million such stops. The federal class action lawsuits challenging the stop and frisk practices of the NYPD hinged on the claim that police were using racial profiling in deciding who to stop — rather than any objective basis for a stop, such as reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed or about to be committed.

During the years that the lawsuits were pending, experts were hired by both the plaintiffs and the City of New York. The plaintiffs’ expert analyzed thousands of stops; here is a quick summary of his key findings:

  • Of the 4.4 million stops, 52 percent were black, 31 percent Hispanic, and 10 percent white.
  • In 2010, New York’s population was 23 percent black, 29 percent Hispanic, and 33 percent white.
  • 52 percent of all stops were followed by a protective frisk for weapons. A weapon was found in only 1.5 percent of these frisks.
  • No further law enforcement action was taken in 88 percent of the stops.
  • Force was used in 23 percent of the stops of blacks, 24 percent of the stops of Hispanics, but only 17 percent of the stops of whites.
  • Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of stops where the officer failed to state a specific suspected crime rose from one percent to 36 percent.
  • For the period 2004 through 2009, when any law enforcement action was taken...
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Using archeology in the service of nationalism

The inauguration of a supposed ancient Jewish ‘Pilgrimage Road’ by Ambassador David Friedman and White House envoy Jason Greenblatt is a reminder that archeology is never as neutral as some would like to believe.

By Chemi Shiff and Yonathan Mizrachi

We tend to think of archeology as a neutral discipline. Archeologists dig up artifacts, date them, and try to build a timeline to better understand the history of a particular place or people.

Last week’s inauguration of Jerusalem’s “Pilgrimage Road” by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and White House envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt is a reminder that archeology is never as neutral as some would like to believe. According to archaeologists, the route was taken by Jewish pilgrims as they ascended to the Second Temple some 2,000 years ago.

For Palestinians, the tunnel lies directly below the neighborhood of Silwan, long coveted by Israeli settlers who are actively working to Judaize the area.

When it comes to archeology in Jerusalem, it seems everyone prefers to overlook the elephant in the room: how can any archaeological site, especially one with so many layers of history, be held up as proof of one ethno-national group’s exclusive claims?

Doron Spielman, vice president of the settlement organization Elad, which funded the excavations and will manage its archaeological site, told Jerusalem Post that “this place is the heart of the Jewish people and is like the blood that courses through our veins.” Commenting on the importance of the finds, Greenblatt stressed that “archaeology doesn’t shape historic landscape,” but rather is focused on the “excavation… and analysis of artifacts/physical remains.”

Greenblatt’s sentiment transcends political differences between left and right. After all, archaeology has long been used by many societies to cement their ideologies as an inseparable part of the landscape. This, of course, is not to say that archaeology cannot be used to discern between different cultures. Yet, in most sites that have been inhabited by countless cultures over the centuries — and especially in multi-layered places such as Jerusalem —  the archaeological record usually reveals a story of complex relations between the various cultures that resided in any specific area.

While there is no question that Jews lived in the area surrounding the Pilgrimage Road in numerous periods, excavations have revealed that the area had been continuously inhabited for thousands of years before and after the Roman Period (referred to in Israel as the Second Temple Period),...

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The man who helped build Israel's legal infrastructure of oppression

Aharon Barak says he is concerned about Israeli democracy, but he bears responsibility for no small part of where the country is today.

By Hagai El-Ad

Former Chief Justice Aharon Barak is completely at peace with his ruling on targeted assassinations. On a recent episode of an Israeli investigative TV program, he went so far as to brag about its impact: “By the way, my judgment is taught all over the world.”

Clearly, Barak takes pride in his judgments resonating around the world. When it comes to his own voice and words, the question of “why take it abroad?” never even comes up. But when another Israeli – me – took it abroad and spoke at the UN, Chief Justice Barak got mad — really mad. “I too am pained when I hear about an Israeli going before the Security Council and – in front of all the other delegates whose countries, each and every one, engages in human rights violations, much more than we do – makes these speeches there, and they applaud him. It made me very mad, very mad. I was angry about that.”

But, if the same law applies to all, then everyone may be heard abroad, not just Barak’s judgments. Why, then, should the honorable justice get so very, very mad? Could it be that Barak has a problem with what was said, rather than where it was said?

In a career that spanned three decades, from 1975 to 2006, Aharon Barak held senior positions in Israel’s justice system, serving first as the attorney general, then as a Supreme Court justice, and finally as chief justice. Nowadays, Barak is extremely troubled by the threats to “Israeli democracy.”

The thing is, Barak is no mere passerby who has unwittingly stumbled into the current state of affairs. He is one of its chief architects. What was Barak’s role in bringing about where we are today? The demise of what “democracy” is Barak lamenting? And how about the hypocrisy of presenting a reality in which millions of people have been rightless subjects for more than fifty years as democratic?


Barak says he might have gone too far when he asserted, “the whole earth abounds with justice.” As a matter of fact, he would have hit things closer to the mark if, when it...

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'They’re killing our brothers': Why Ethiopians shut down Israel for a day

They’re angry at the media, have lost faith in the establishment, and know that just like other Ethiopian Israelis before them, they too may pay a price for the color of their skin. The demonstrators who protested in Tel Aviv yesterday were not ‘anarchists’ — they were frightened young women and men who want to show they haven’t lost their power.

By Yael Marom and Oren Ziv

Following the police killing of 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah over the weekend, the Ethiopian community decided that they could sit still no longer, taking to the streets in protests that are already in their third day. Tuesday evening’s demonstrations, which took place across the country and brought Israel’s major highways and roads to a near-standstill, were labeled by the media as “violent” and “anarchic.”

Yet all that could be seen in central Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, where hundreds of people blocked Ayalon Highway, one of Israel’s central traffic hubs, was sadness and bewilderment — young Ethiopian Israelis who cannot comprehend what is happening around them, who are afraid for their future, who hope anyone will listen and that white Israelis join them.

Some of these protesters were only 10 years old when Ethiopian Israeli Yosef Salamsa was found dead following a police interrogation, or when Damas Pakada was filmed being beaten by a police officer in 2015. They saw with their own eyes how their older brothers were arrested and humiliated, and how none of the government’s promises to put an end to the violence or discrimination bore fruit.


“This protest is different from the previous ones,” said 18-year-old Y. on Tuesday night. “The last time we followed in the footsteps of our parents — to listen, to show respect. We understood that this path won’t work, so we decided to use force.” Y., who asked his name not be revealed in order to protect his identity, and who was eventually arrested during the Ayalon protest, explained that young Ethiopians are going out into the streets because they do not trust a system that is supposed to investigate police killings, yet never indicts any of the officers involved. “They close all the cases and do nothing. The officer is always acquitted. I think this protest will last, it will take time until it is over.”

“I don’t think people understand what it means to...

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PODCAST: Israel wants to deport this human rights defender

On the latest episode of The +972 Podcast, Human Right Watch’s Omar Shakir talks about Israel’s case against him, which he believes is a watershed moment for democracy and free speech in Israel.

Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify


For more than a year now, Israel has been trying to deport the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir. The ongoing litigation began in May 2018, when Israel decided to revoke Shakir’s work authorization in Israel, largely based on an intelligence dossier that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs compiled of Shakir’s political activity and statements before joining Human Rights Watch. This was the first time that the Israeli government had used the 2017 amendment to its Law of Entry — which denies entry to those who publicly support a boycott of Israel — to deport someone already legally present in the country. 

“The court’s decision largely focused on Human Rights Watch’s research and advocacy on business in settlements, claiming that that work was actually a call for boycott of Israel,” said Shakir. “This is merely the latest incarnation of an attempt by the Israeli government to muzzle Human Rights Watch.”

What’s the difference between the work you do at HRW and boycott advocacy?

“Human Rights Watch takes no position on boycotts of Israel. This isn’t some special Israel policy, it’s part of how we do work everywhere in the world.”

“What we found, through the course of years of working on Israel and Palestine is that inherently, any business that operates in a settlement invariably benefits from and contributes to serious violations of international law and abuses the rights of Palestinians.”

“Today, the political litmus test to enter Israel seems to be support for boycotts. Could it tomorrow be calling for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation, or even calling for withdrawal of settlements, or saying the West Bank is occupied? Today, these restrictions are being used to block somebody from entering the country. Could it tomorrow be the basis to restrict the activities of Israeli and Palestinian rights defenders?”

Would you say that’s an escalation?

“The government has been quite consistent in its efforts to muzzle those that are critical of its policies. For the court, though, to put its stamp on a campaign of this sort is...

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The unwritten history of Israel's alliance with the Shah's dictatorship

For years, Israel maintained close political, economic, and security relations with the Shah of Iran. Newly-declassified documents reveal that Israeli leaders were well aware of his murderous suppression of political opponents.

By Eitay Mack

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, during which the Ayatollahs took control of the country and brought down the Shah’s absolutist monarchy. The Iranian masses, who were undergoing various ideological changes at the time, overthrew the Shah’s corrupt and oppressive regime.

Much has been written over the years about Israel’s ties with Mohammad Reza Shah and his dictatorship. When it was convenient for the IDF censor and political and security officials in Israel, information — even secret documents from that period — was revealed to the general public.

Recently, files from the Foreign Ministry regarding relations with Iran have been declassified and can now be found in Israel’s State Archives. These include more than 10,000 pages from 1953 until 1979, which were heavily censored when compared to similar files in cases of other countries.

The documents expose Israel’s extensive and exceptional relations with a foreign country, not only because these political and security-based relations were with with a Muslim country, but because the relationship with the Shah’s dictatorship was strategic and central to the State of Israel from a security, economic and political point of view. At the time, Israel’s relations with many other countries were limited mainly to weapons sales in exchange for votes in international forums.

Thus, for example, Israel purchased a significant portion — and in some years all — of its oil from the Shah’s regime, while Iran used Israel as a middleman to sell its oil to third countries. The alliance over oil required that Israel and the Shah ensure the safety of shipping routes. This strengthened their partnership in the struggle against Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser’s repeated attempts to promote ideological and military alliances throughout the Middle East that were hostile to Iran and Israel, particularly in the Gulf states and the Arabian Peninsula.

Private and state-owned Israeli companies, ranging from textiles, agriculture, electrical appliances, water, fertilizers, construction, aviation, shipping, gas, tires and even dentures, had been operating extensively in Iran. In some years, Iran was one of the main destinations for Israeli exports. Meanwhile, Israeli academia also enjoyed relatively extensive cooperation with academics in Iran.

The Shah never officially recognized Israel

Iran de facto recognized the State of Israel in March 1950, but in light of internal pressure by those who opposed...

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Palestinians have every right to reject another Oslo

With the Bahrain workshop, the Trump administration is relying on the same old Oslo model of economy before politics. What needs to be done is to hold Israel accountable.

By Sam Bahour

After 52 years of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, there is a fact that cannot be brushed aside: Israel is addicted to the Palestinian economy. This addiction is the product of decades of systematic and forceful actions by the Israeli government to make the Palestinian economy structurally dependent on Israel. Just as with a drug addict or an alcoholic, external intervention is imperative for the sake of the addict and all those within his or her reach; otherwise, the self-inflicted damage will sooner or later be fatal.

After all this time under the boot of Israeli military occupation, enthusiastically supported by the United States every step of the way, Palestinians have a watertight case against participating in yet another workshop with those promising to be their saviors — like the one the Trump administration has called for on June 25 and 26 in Manama, Bahrain.

Anyone who has witnessed the last 25 years of the failure of the U.S.-led peace process knows that what needs to be done, albeit extremely belatedly, is to hold Israel accountable. This would mean using tools like boycotts, divestment, sanctions, diplomatic actions.

The Palestinians are doing their utmost on all these fronts. What’s missing today is for other states to uphold their legal and ethical obligations to do the same. Additionally, this upcoming “economic workshop” is a political moment, and the opportunity of a lifetime, for any country that has not yet formally recognized the State of Palestine to do so immediately, especially if it is truly committed to a two-state solution to this conflict.

How is Israel addicted to the Palestinian economy? Israel reaps $5 billion annually from the captive economy called the occupied Palestinian territory; the Palestinian market is one of Israel’s top export markets after the United States, China and Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Israel is addicted to our customs tariffs, skimming a whopping 3 percent off every customs-dollar the Palestinian import-intensive economy generates.

Israel is addicted to our cheap but dedicated and skilled labor — for the benefit of its construction sector and its agricultural sector and its service sector. More recently, Israel expanded this labor addiction to include our knowledge-based professionals....

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WATCH: Caught in Israel's permit system, Gaza children fear for their lives

What happens when children in Gaza need to leave the strip for medical care that is unavailable there? Filmmaker Jen Marlowe gives us a look into the lives of the families as they navigate the often Kafkaesque process of getting permission from the Israeli army to leave the besieged strip for medical treatments.

By Jen Marlowe

Jen Marlowe is the Communications Associate for Just Vision and a filmmaker, journalist, author, and human rights activist. Her work includes the play There is a Fieldthe book “The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker” and the film “One Family in Gaza.”

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Permission denied: Gaza children struggle to get medical care

With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the strip. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care.

By Jen Marlowe

GAZA — Noha Saleh called me at seven in the morning on March 18 from Erez, the only crossing point from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Her 12-year-old son, Mohamed, had a surgical appointment in Jerusalem later that day to re-attach severed nerves in his leg. Seven became 8:00 and then 9:00, and still there was no word from the Israeli army. With the help of Physicians for Human Rights Israel, we were told that Mohamed’s permit was still “pending.” Noha and Mohamed returned home, dejected. This was the fourth appointment Mohamed had missed because the Israeli army hadn’t issued them the requisite travel permits.

Defense for Children International-Palestine had put me in touch with Mohamed in February because I wanted to know what happens when children need to leave Gaza for medical care.

To learn why children need to leave Gaza for medical treatment and why their needs cannot be met in the strip, I sat down with Mahmoud Deeb Daher, head of the World Health Organization’s sub-office in Gaza. Difficult cases have been referred to Israel since the start of the occupation, said Daher. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, large-scale investments were made in the Palestinian health care system, but then, in 2000, the Second Intifada erupted. “The whole focus became towards the relief and the emergency, so this development that was steadily going up, was reversed,” said Daher. Since then, Gaza has faced repeated crises, including three wars. “The system is struggling to maintain its functionality.”

The siege, financial crisis, and political deadlock between the PA in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza have led to chronic shortages of essential drugs. Ongoing electricity shortages force hospitals to ration power. Israel’s policies regulating imports and exports to Gaza, particularly those restricting “dual use” items, lead to long delays in arrival, repair, or calibration of medical equipment. As of May 7, the PA announced it will stop sending drugs to Gaza’s hospitals altogether, though the WHO affirms that a shipment of drugs was received in mid-May.

Salaries of government workers (including medical workers) are routinely withheld or reduced due to the...

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After 3 years, accusations against Gaza World Vision head remain unproven

Mohammed Halabi, arrested in 2016 by Israel on accusations of diverting charity funds to Hamas, is still behind bars. Dozens of court hearings later, the state has yet to present evidence against him.

By Antony Loewenstein

“I’ve never heard of any case like this in Israel before,” says Maher Hanna. “Even in the [nuclear whistle-blower] Mordechai Vanunu case, his lawyer had more access to their client than I do.”

Hanna is the attorney representing Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Halabi, a World Vision manager born in a Gaza refugee camp who three years ago was accused by Israel of funneling around $43 million from the Christian charity to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Since 2016, Israel has not provided any evidence to Halabi or World Vision to prove its case, and yet Halabi’s trial continues in an Israeli court, unresolved and with no end in sight. His lawyer tells me that he has no idea if Halabi will remain in a remote prison near Be’er Sheva without being convicted for many more years.

“This case is unprecedented in the Israeli legal system,” Hanna says. “Israel knows that Halabi is innocent. Some Israeli officials told me that.” Nonetheless, Hanna acknowledges that the panel of three judges could find his client guilty.

+972 Magazine has spent months investigating the Halabi case, examining the origins of the allegations, the reasons behind them, and speaking to key players in the story. The picture that emerges from many pages of internal World Vision documents, rarely heard details of the court case, and a correspondence with Halabi himself, is more than just that of an innocent Palestinian being tortured, mistreated and pressured to capitulate to Israeli demands; it also raises uncomfortable questions for many in the global and Israeli media who willingly accept Israeli government claims about Palestinians — even when there is no supporting evidence.

When the allegations against Halabi first surfaced in 2016, a senior official with the Shin Bet told journalists that Halabi had been recruited by Hamas in 2005 and instructed to join World Vision. After Halabi became head of World Vision in Gaza in 2010, the Israeli official claimed that he had eventually transferred around 60 percent of the organization’s annual budget in Gaza to Hamas. The allegedly stolen money had been spent on digging cross-border tunnels for Hamas militants to enter Israel, building a Hamas military base,...

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