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WHO assembly singles out Israel for alleged violations of health rights

UN Watch slams global health agency for holding 4-hour session on the Jewish state ‘at the expense of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic’

The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters building in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2015 . (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)
The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters building in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2015 . (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)

The World Health Organization on Thursday held a four-hour session on Israel’s alleged violation of health rights in the Palestinian territories as well as of Druze of Syrian origin in the Golan Heights.

Representatives from dozens of countries gave speeches accusing Israel of harming health rights, according to UN Watch.

In a 78 to 14 vote, with 32 abstentions and 56 countries absent, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution requiring the same debate be held next year and for the head of the WHO to ready another report on health conditions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

The resolution was sponsored by Cuba, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the Palestinians.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN Watch, condemned the “cynical politicization of the world’s top health agency at the expense of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and other vital global health priorities and emergencies.”

He said the claim Israel is violating health rights is a “lie” and that “the opposite is true,” noting thousands of Palestinians receive care at Israeli hospitals on a regular basis and that Syrians wounded in that country’s civil war were treated in the Jewish state.

Neuer also railed at the WHO for not having an agenda item on any single country other than Israel and called out a number of states that voted in favor of the resolution.

“Amid a global pandemic, the minority of EU member states and other democracies who voted for the resolution should be ashamed, including France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Japan, India, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Monaco,” he said.

Among the countries that voted against the resolution were the United States, Britain, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Slovenia, Cameroon, Swaziland and Micronesia.

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