FRESH AIR

The World Health Organisation’s Incurable Disease

Jun 16, 2023 | Justin Amler

800px Logo Of The World Health Organization

The World Health Organisation (WHO) was created as an instrument of the United Nations, and markets itself as championing health and the well-being of all people. Its website says it “connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health.”

It all sounds wonderful – except, like all instruments of the United Nations, it has become deeply flawed and politicised, as demonstrated by its 76th annual World Health Assembly meeting that recently concluded in Geneva. Of the 25 items on the meeting agenda, only one country was continually singled out. It doesn’t take a doctorate in infectious diseases and immunology to guess which: Israel.

Sadly, it is the same story at every recent World Health Assembly, as AIJAC has previously documented.

Adding to the absurdity, North Korea, a country whose regime deliberately starves its own people, was elected to a seat on the ten-member WHO Executive Board.

 

Bad Company

The WHO’s annual tradition of singling out the Jewish State alone for condemnation should not come as any great surprise, because it fits in well with the politicisation of all instruments and bodies at the United Nations.

We see it reflected in the UN General Assembly, which passed resolutions condemning Israel 15 times in the past year, compared to just 13 for the rest of the world, including such shining lights of human rights as Russia, China, Myanmar, North Korea and Syria.

We see it in the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, whose biased and extremist views using antisemitic tropes against Israel and Jews have been well documented and led to multiple calls for her removal.

We see it in the UN Human Rights Council’s so-called “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, which is led by three people with a long history of anti-Israel bias and which just recently released another anti-Israel tirade masquerading as a report.

We even see it in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a seemingly innocuous organisation that deals with education, scientific and cultural issues.  It still found time to pass a resolution stating that Jews, despite their almost 4000-year bond to Jerusalem, have no link to the holiest site for the Jewish people, the Temple Mount. In fact, it doesn’t even use that term, preferring to call it exclusively by the Muslim description of al-Haram al-Sharif.

 

An Unhealthy Resolution

The resolution that was passed by the World Health Assembly (WHA), condemning Israel passed by a margin of 76 to 13, with 35 abstentions. It fits very well within the scope of what we’ve come to expect from politicised and corrupted UN institutions, dominated by authoritarian states and human rights abusers.

Despite its ostensible focus supposedly on public health emergencies, the WHO found it suitable to deviate from its own mission statement by singling out Israel in this resolution, which was promoted by Syria and the Palestinian Authority, along with other leading and successful beacons of human rights and democracy like Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Somalia.

In a typical obfuscation of language, the resolution itself pretends to be concerned about health issues, but in reality, it’s just one more forum abusing its so-called authority to attack Israel with each point attempting to hold Israel guilty of everything and anything they can throw at it.

The report talks about casualties, but what isn’t mentioned is that the majority of Palestinian casualties mentioned in this report involve what they term “occupation-related violence” – meaning terrorists killed while carrying out or attempting to carry out attacks against innocent civilians, or people killed while violently opposing Israeli forces arresting such terrorists. And while the number of Israelis killed is noted, no mention is made that the majority of them were non-combatants. Put another way, it parallels the terrorists committing murder with their victims in some kind of malevolent moral equivalence!

It even counts victims in Gaza as part of this “occupation-related violence” even though Israel has been completely out of Gaza for 18 years. Of course, Gaza’s actual ruler, the terror regime of Hamas, is not even mentioned! The same goes for fellow terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, responsible for sparking much of the recent violence.

Israel’s legitimate security needs are also completely ignored when it claims Israel’s delays of Palestinian ambulances are “arbitrary”, thereby failing to acknowledge the Palestinian terrorism that has made all of Israel’s checkpoints, barriers and restrictions an absolute necessity to save lives. It fails to acknowledge that a Palestinian tactic certainly used in the past has been to move terrorists in Palestinian ambulances sometimes filled with children – an abhorrent act certainly considered a war crime.

In the eyes of the WHO, every death, every casualty, every misery, every broken toenail on the Palestinian side can be attributed to “occupation-related violence” and therefore a danger to “Health”, ensuring that only Israel is singled out as a violator of health rights.

This is a resolution that is borne out of fantasy, because it is clear that those who support these types of resolutions have never visited an Israeli hospital – places where it is common to have Jews and Arabs working together, from doctors to nurses and other medical personnel. It is also routine for all kinds of people to be treated equally in Israeli hospitals, where they are provided with world-class healthcare. And despite the brutal Syrian dictatorship accusing Israel of “continuing to attack the Palestinian people under the nose of the international community”, it is Israel that has actively helped Syrians fleeing the civil war there – a fact purposely not mentioned in this resolution.

Now, even though Israel may be accustomed to this kind of political absurdity and bias, it’s still disappointing to note some of the countries which voted in favour of this absurd and ridiculous resolution. Countries like France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, India, Ireland, New Zealand and Luxembourg should be embarrassed to be part of a politicised, biased resolution that emboldens human rights violators like those who sponsored it. In doing so, they have condemned the most vulnerable people to receive even less help, as resources are diverted from areas of greatest need to the political demonisation of Israel.

Countries that voted against the resolution include Australia, the US, the UK, Austria, Cameroon, Italy, Fiji, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands. Of these countries, Italy and Fiji should be especially commended for changing their votes from abstaining in previous years to opposing the resolution this time around.

 

A Distraction From Improving the Health of the Most Needy

The WHO’s annual obsession with singling out Israel for condemnation is a distraction and diversion from the real, urgent and desperate requirements of those countries that need healthcare the most. Niger has 0.03 physicians per 1000 population ratio compared to Switzerland which has 4.38 physicians per 1000 people, and which is also the headquarters of the WHO, where officials sit around a table with well-catered meals, eating biscuits and sipping barista-brewed coffee while passing judgement on Israel. It all seems completely detached from reality.

But it must also be remembered that the WHO’s agenda is not determined objectively by global health needs, as it should be, but is politicised. This was apparent over the last few years when the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic – a time when the WHO should have shown leadership, but even that global defining event was unable to push anti-Israel obsessions off of its agenda (the WHO also infamously effectively assisted China in its cover-up of COVID’s origins).

This permanent witch-hunt against the Jewish state is so entrenched that part of the resolution mandates the WHO Director-General prepare another report next year, thereby ensuring that more time and resources will be wasted in demonising Israel rather than addressing the health needs of the world’s most needy people – a perpetual cycle of politicised puerility.

Moreover, all the resolutions it passes against Israel in actual fact do absolutely nothing to improve the health outcomes of Palestinians. These resolutions certainly don’t help them access better healthcare or WHO assistance programs for their clinics and hospitals. It’s only about attacking Israel.

But again – this is not about truth, but about politics. And the brand of politics used, dominated by anti-democratic and brutal regimes, should itself be regarded as nothing less than a disease, and a highly destructive one at that.

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