Yesh Atid chairman’s remarks come after WHO singled out Israel, passing a resolution at the UN organization’s annual assembly in Geneva against its operating in the area of Palestinian hospitals.
A World Health Organization resolution stating Israel violates Palestinians’ health rights is “a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism,” Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote to WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan on Thursday.
The letter came after the WHO singled out Israel for condemnation, passing a resolution at the UN organization’s annual assembly in Geneva Wednesday against its operating in the area of Palestinian hospitals, and claiming Israel violates health rights in the Golan Heights. The resolution passed 104-4 with six abstentions.
As Lapid pointed out, Palestinian terrorists often operate in and around hospitals, like in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, when the Shifa Hospital in Gaza was used to launch rockets into Israel, targeting civilians. At the same time, Israel set up a field hospital to treat injured Palestinian civilians.
“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.
In addition, Israel often treats those injured in the Syrian Civil War, bringing them into Israel through the Golan Heights.
“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.
“These actions are purely humanitarian, just because it’s the right thing to do,” he added.
The Yesh Atid accused the WHO of allowing itself “to be used by those who seek to alienate the State of Israel through a campaign of delegitimization. This orchestrated campaign against the sole Jewish state in the world is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism” “Your organization veered away from its mandate and waded into the campaign to delegitimize Israel. In between important discussions on the Zika Virus, shortages in medical equipment and vaccine action plans, the WHO highlighted Israel…for so called abuses,” Lapid wrote.
Lapid urged the WHO to repeal the resolution against Israel as soon as possible, and instead, “focus on combatting real health crises across the world.”
Watchdog organization UN Watch went further, and pointed out that 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.
“The UN health assembly should single out Israel – as a beacon of humanity,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer wrote. “The UN 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 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.
“So long as the UN instead descends into irrationalism, scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems just as medieval Europe accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the organization betrays the cause of humanity and the noble principles upon which it was founded,” Neuer wrote.
The decision targeting only Israel came after 30 health and humanitarian organizations released a report this week citing 19 countries in which attacks destroyed health facilities, killing medical workers and patients, including Colombia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Thailand. The report claimed Israel obstructed medical services for Palestinians.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman denounced the Palestinian representative at the WHO for politicizing the assembly after the latter called Israel “a country of occupation [that] harms Palestinian medical institutions in Gaza and elsewhere.”
Litzman responded: “The WHO is a professional organization, and I am very disappointed that the Palestinian representative has used this forum for a political attach against my country…The WHO is not a political organization, therefore I will speak on global, regional and Israeli health.”
Instead, Litzman talked about the assembly’s theme of “Sustainable Development,” including fighting poverty and inequality, citing his program giving basic dental services for children and mental health reform as successes.