London, Tel Aviv- A Palestinian U.N. worker accused by Israel of aiding Hamas in the Gaza Strip was sentenced to seven months’ jail Wednesday, his lawyer announced.
Waheed Borsh was convicted of “rendering services to an illegal organization without intention”, attorney Lea Tsemel told Agence France Presse.
The Israeli authorities arrested Borsh in July, and with time already served and good behavior, he is expected to be released on January 12.
Borsh’s employer, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), said the plea deal showed there had been no wrongdoing by the organization.
Coming shortly after accusations against a senior employee of the World Vision NGO, the case caused a major stir in Israel.
It centered on accusations that rubble in Gaza under the responsibility of the UNDP was misused by Hamas which controls the enclave.
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.
But Tsemel stressed that her client had been convicted only of unintentionally aiding the group by “moving some rubble”.
Since 2008, Gaza has witnessed three destructive wars.
More than two thirds of the population of the territory, which Israel has blockaded for a decade, is reliant on some form of aid, according to the U.N.
The allegations against the UNDP, which were first announced in August, as well as the more serious ones against World Vision’s Gaza head Mohammed al-Halabi, were trumpeted by Israeli officials.
Halabi is accused of siphoning millions of dollars to Hamas in a case still in the Israeli courts.