WHO Denounced for Anti-Israel Resolution

WHO headquarters in Geneva. (Yann Forget)
WHO headquarters in Geneva. (Yann Forget)

The U.N.’s World Health Organization was denounced for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias on Thursday over a resolution accusing Israel of violating Palestinian health rights.

The resolution, which passed by a lopsided vote of 104-4 with six abstentions, came despite a protest earlier this week by Israeli Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman at the annual WHO conference in Geneva.

Rabbi Litzman criticized the Palestinian representative at the WHO for politicizing the assembly after the latter claimed that Israel “harms Palestinian medical institutions in Gaza and elsewhere.”

The WHO singled out Israel for condemnation, for conducting military operations near Palestinian hospitals, and violating health rights in the Golan Heights.
The WHO resolution was characterized on Thursday as “a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism,” by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid in a letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan.
“The blame here lies with those who abuse medical facilities and turn them into military facilities. It is Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who should be the focus of your condemnation,” he wrote.

“Across the border, in Syria, hundreds of thousands have been murdered…Barrel bombs are dropped from the sky on to hospitals and doctors are routinely targeted as part of a campaign to target civilian populations,” Lapid wrote. “While the carnage in Syria has continued unabated and terrorists commit unspeakable atrocities across the region most notably in Iraq, Israel has been quietly working to treat injured Syrians. They are brought to the border, collected by the Israel Defense Force and taken to Israeli hospitals were they are given first rate medical care, at no expense.”

Watchdog organization U.N. Watch criticized the WHO for focusing exclusively and unjustly on Israel. The WHO did not debate the health of Yemeni people under Saudi bombardment, where 1,850 were killed, 7,394 wounded and 545,000 displaced, and, in fact the Saudi Arabian representatives denounced Israel at the assembly.

On the contrary, “The U.N. health assembly should single out Israel – as a beacon of humanity,” U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer wrote. “The U.N. should single out Israel because if you walk into any Israeli hospital or clinic, you will see it replete with Palestinians receiving world-class medical treatment. And this was true even this past summer while Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, and placed their terrorist command center under the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, a despicable abuse of health rights unmentioned by the world health assembly.”

Neuer listed other Israeli health programs, including “Save a Child’s Heart,” which has performed cardiac surgery on 3,400 children from 48 countries, about half of whom are Muslims, and the 260-member team of Israeli medics and search and rescue experts who treated victims of the deadly earthquake in Nepal last year.

The WHO resolution targeting Israel was especially egregious in light of a report issued just this week by 30 health and humanitarian organizations citing human rights violations in 19 different countries. Among the countries listed where attacks destroyed health facilities, killing medical workers and patients, were Colombia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Thailand.

However, only Israel was condemned in the WHO resolution.

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