Biased Reporting by the World Health Organization and the Red Cross

The World Health Organization would appear to have nothing whatsoever to say about the fact that Gaza’s hospitals were being used by Hamas terrorists. Not a single word of condemnation!

I looked in vain on its website for reference to the fact that Hamas had built a shaft and underground tunnels leading from the grounds of the Shifa hospital and that they had dragged hostages into the facility as well as using it to store weapons.

The WHO heads its report on the current situation with the banner headline “Conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory”. It informs us that the “WHO is deeply concerned about the safety and health needs of patients, health workers and internally displaced people sheltering at the few remaining partially functional hospitals”.
It finds just six words to call for the “the unconditional release of all hostages”, but I searched in vain for any reference to Hamas.

At a media briefing on November 15th, the WHO’s Director-General stated that “Israel’s military incursion into Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City is totally unacceptable. Hospitals are not battlegrounds.” Once again, there is no reference to Hamas. It is as if Israeli soldiers were risking their lives by entering Shifa hospital in order to disrupt its care of the sick. Tedros Ghebreyesus should be ashamed of himself.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is no better. It too heads its report “Israel and the occupied territories” even though Israel unilaterally evacuated the Gaza Strip removing its civilian and military presence in the region eighteen years ago in September 2005.

In its report it states that “this humanitarian crisis is deepening by the hour”. It refers to Gazans who are “desperate for clean drinking water” but does not refer to Hamas or have a word to say about the 250 Israeli and other civilians that are being held hostage. The best it could do was to suggest that they would “contribute to any future family reunification of released hostages”. Why aren’t they demanding access to those hostages? Is their welfare any less important than that of the Palestinians?

The Times of Israel did report that the ICRC had informed them that “We are speaking with Hamas at the highest levels, face-to-face”…. “The plight of loved ones being held hostage is one of our top priorities. We are making demands to see them. We are asking that they be able to contact family members.” However, there is no reference to that on their website!

Israel is frequently and rightly blamed for poor hasbara, but unfortunately the cards are stacked against us. The Palestinians will always be seen as the victims even when they break into kibbutzim killing, raping, burning and taking defenceless men, women and children hostage and murdering hundreds of young people innocently enjoying themselves at a music festival.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.