Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist

Farce: UN’s health assembly condemns Israel only

What a waste of precious time, money, and resources, diverted from global health priorities to wage a (false!) prosecution of the Jewish state
A Syrian child receives treatment in an Israeli hospital as part of the IDF's 'Operation Good Neighbor' project, which helped thousands of Syrians before Israel shut it down after Syrian dictator Bashar Assad took control of the area bordering the Golan Heights. (Israel Defense Forces)
A Syrian child receives treatment in an Israeli hospital as part of the IDF's 'Operation Good Neighbor' project, which helped thousands of Syrians. (Israel Defense Forces)

The annual assembly of the UN’s World Health Organization yesterday voted 96 to 11 for a Palestinian-drafted resolution, co-sponsored by Syria, Sudan, and Venezuela, that singled out Israel over “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Out of 21 items on the meeting’s Agenda, only one — Item No. 14 against Israel — focused on a specific country.

There was no agenda item or resolution on any other country, including Syria, where hospitals and medical infrastructure have suffered devastating bombings by Syrian and Russian forces; Yemen, where 19.7 million people lack access to health care service due to the current crisis; or Venezuela, where the health system has collapsed, causing millions to flee the country.

The resolution is a fantastic lie, an obscene and Orwellian canard. The UN reached new heights of absurdity by enacting a resolution which accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals provide life-saving treatment to Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.

Shame on France, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland for encouraging this hijacking of the annual world health assembly, and diverting precious time, money, and resources from global health priorities, in order to wage a political prosecution of Israel, especially when, in reality, anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they are providing world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs — including last week to Palestinian leader Jibril Rajoub — as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad.

The vote was 96 to 11 on the resolution, with 21 abstentions and 56 absent.

Embed from Getty Images

Those that voted no, like last year, were the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Guatemala, and Israel, while those that changed their votes to no this year were Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras and Hungary.

Both Brazil and most recently Germany announced that they would oppose biased UN resolutions against Israel, and today they kept their promise.

In addition to voting against the resolution, the US, the UK, Germany and Canada took the floor to strongly object to the politicization of the forum.

The adopted text calls for a report on a series of alleged Israeli violations, including on “the mental health of Palestinians affected by the exposure to violence and the context of chronic occupation.”

By passing the resolution, the body also adopted a report that points the finger at Israel for increased health and mental health issues stemming from “trauma injuries and exposure to violence during the ‘Great March of Return.’” The report completely ignores the leading role of Hamas and other terrorist groups in orchestrating the violent riots and deliberately encouraging demonstrators to approach the hostile area of the Gaza-Israel border.

The WHO’s report also lauded the successful training of 1,600 UNRWA staff members in providing mental health services, omitting the impact of UNRWA teachers’ incitement to terrorism and violence on the mental health of Palestinian children.

About the Author
Hillel Neuer is executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization in Geneva, Switzerland. An international lawyer, Neuer has been described by the Tribune de Genève as a human rights activist who is “feared and dreaded” by the world’s dictatorships. Israel's Ma’ariv newspaper ranked Neuer as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Jewish People in the World.” Hillel Neuer is a renowned speaker who has published widely, testified before the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, and appeared on CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. On September 14, 2016, the City of Chicago adopted a resolution declaring “Hillel Neuer Day” in recognition of his work as “one of the world’s foremost human rights advocates.” In June 2018, McGill University awarded Neuer with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, citing his work as “an innovator” in “creating global platforms for courageous dissidents and champions of human rights from around the world,” and for being “a passionate advocate for human rights, fighting tirelessly against discrimination, torture, and injustice."
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