UN worker accused of aiding Hamas gets 7 months

Palestinian Arab UN worker accused by Israel of aiding Hamas sentenced to seven months' jail in a plea deal.

Ben Ariel,

Hamas terrorist in Gaza
Hamas terrorist in Gaza
Emad Nassar/Flash 90

A Palestinian Arab UN worker accused by Israel of aiding the Hamas terrorist organization was sentenced to seven months' jail Wednesday in a plea deal which will see him released soon, AFP reports.

Waheed Borsh, an employee of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was convicted of "rendering services to an illegal organization without intention", his lawyer Lea Tsemel told the news agency.

The Israeli justice ministry confirmed the plea deal, saying that it also included eight months' probation.

The UNDP agency runs restoration and development projects for the population in Gaza, including restoration work on houses damaged during military engagements.

Borsh, who worked as an engineer for the agency, was suspected of having been instructed by a senior Hamas official to conduct his work in the UNDP in such a way as to enable Hamas to gain the maximum benefit from it.

Israel originally alleged that Borsh had been recruited by Hamas and had deliberately diverted rubble to a port -- which was then used to build a military jetty.

Tsemel, however, told AFP that her client had been convicted only of unintentionally aiding Hamas by "moving some rubble".

"The prosecution claimed that he should have checked better as this could have helped Hamas," she added.

Borsh, who was arrested in July, is expected to be released on January 12 due to time already served and good behavior.

The UNDP said the deal showed there had been no wrongdoing by the organization.

While it stressed it had "zero tolerance for wrongdoing", it added that the case did not prove deliberate intent.

"This outcome confirms that there was no wrongdoing by UNDP," the body said in a statement quoted by AFP.

A separate case still ongoing is that of the head of the Gaza branch of the World Vision NGO, Mohammed al-Halabi, who is accused of diverting millions of dollars in aid to Hamas.

The global body of World Vision has denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, but Australia announced it would cut funding to the group shortly after the case was exposed.




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