UN Says Gaza Employee Diverted Rubble on PA Instructions

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 3.17.44 PM

Jerusalem (AFP) – The United Nations on Saturday said a Gaza employee had diverted tonnes of rubble on instructions from the Palestinian Authority (PA) days after Israel charged him with aiding Islamist movement Hamas.

Engineer Waheed Borsh, 38, who worked for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), was arrested on July 16 and accused by Israel of being recruited by a Hamas member to “redirect his work for UNDP to serve Hamas’s military interests”.

He was charged in an Israeli court with diverting 300 tonnes of rubble from a UNDP project in the coastal enclave to a Hamas operation to build a jetty for its naval force.

Hamas, the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip since 2007, have denied any involvement.

UNDP said that after reviewing Borsh’s charge sheet — which was made public on Tuesday — it had “established that the rubble in question was transported to its destination according to written instructions from the Ministry of Public Works and Housing of the Palestinian Authority as to where it should be placed.”

“UNDP has full documentation on the process flow, the instructions and transportation of the rubble,” it said in a statement.

UNDP had said on Tuesday that it was “greatly concerned by the allegation” and promised “a thorough internal review of the processes and circumstances surrounding the allegation”.

The charge sheet’s publication came days after the Gaza head of US-based NGO World Vision was charged with passing millions of dollars of international aid money to Hamas.

Since 2008, Israel has fought three wars in Gaza with Hamas, which is branded a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Israel has long alleged that aid has been diverted to Hamas, claims rejected by NGOs and the United Nations.

Aid workers privately admit to pressure from Hamas.