UN Health Assembly: Israel a Virus, Syria Immune

GENEVA, May 22 – The annual assembly of the UN’s World Health Organization adopted its only country-specific resolution yesterday by condemning Israel, and ordering “health-related technical assistance” to “the Syrian population in the occupied Syrian Golan” — yet said nothing about the Syrian population being slaughtered in Syria. See the vote count at bottom.

The condemnation came after a special debate that criticized Israel for the health situation “in the occupied Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan,” yet turned a blind eye to the bloodbath in Syria that has already killed 80,000 and afflicted the health situation of millions.

Of the 25 items on the agenda of the annual Geneva assembly of the World Health Organization, all but one address global themes such as diseases, health regulations, and pandemics.

The exception, Item No. 20, turns a spotlight on one specific country: Israel. No other country in the world — not Mexico, Russia, Sudan, or anywhere else — is treated this way.

Under the rubric of “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan,” the conference featured four reports scrutinizing Israel, and a brief reply from the Jewish state.

The conference examined two documents submitted by the UN itself: the WHO’s own report, and an UNRWA report, from the agency on Palestinian refugees.

Then there was the report by the Palestinians, claiming that:

“The Palestinian health situation faces many challenges under the oppressive Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, which deprives the Palestinian citizens of their rights and violates all international treaties, conventions and charters that guarantee the rights of all segments of the Palestinian people.”

Ramallah also informs that “despite the actions of the Israeli occupation . . . the Ministry of Health is achieving great successes.” The Jewish state is also accused of harming Palestinians’ drinking water.

Finally, there was the report by Syria, which calls on the WHO to “intervene immediately and take effective measures to end inhuman Israeli practices that target the health of Syrian citizens.”

The Assad regime expresses its grave concern that “The health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan continue to deteriorate, as a result of the suppressive practices of the Israeli occupation.”

Nowhere in the WHO agenda or supporting documents is there any mention of the more than 80,000 slaughtered in Syria, the tends of thousands more who have been injured or disfigured, the 2.5 million refugees strewn across the region, including 600,000 children, or the 2 million children internally displaced.

Israel’s statement said it “regards the continuous World Health Assembly’s debate on the ‘health conditions in the occupied Syrian Golan’ as an absurd example of the way the assembly’s agenda is cynically abused, World Health Organization’s limited resources squandered, and will not cooperate with it.”

Reporting by Kayla Green

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Click here for test of WHO resolution (pages 2-4)

Votes in favour: Algeria; Angola; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Bhutan; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); Brazil; Cambodia; Chile; China; Costa Rica; Cuba; Djibouti; Ecuador; Egypt; Guinea; India; Indonesia; Iran (Islamic Republic of); Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritania; Mexico; Morocco; Namibia; Nicaragua; Oman; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Qatar; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; Uruguay; Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of); Yemen; Zimbabwe.

Votes against: Australia; Canada; Israel; United States of America.

Abstentions: Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Bahamas; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cameroon; Colombia; Congo; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Honduras; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Monaco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nigeria; Norway; Papua New Guinea; Poland; Portugal; Republic of Korea; Republic of Moldova; Romania; Senegal; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Ukraine; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Uzbekistan.

Absent: Afghanistan; Albania; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Barbados; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cape Verde; Chad; Cook Islands; Côte d’Ivoire; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Fiji; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritius; Micronesia (Federated States of); Mongolia; Montenegro; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nepal; Niger; Panama; Paraguay; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Samoa; San Marino; Sao Tome and Principe; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; South Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Uganda; United Republic of Tanzania; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Zambia.

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