GENEVA, May 26, 2014 – The Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch condemned the UN World Health Assembly for singling out Israel -- the only specific country on the agenda -- with its call on Friday for the UN to investigate the health conditions in "the occupied Syrian Golan," even as it was silent on the health of Syria's own victims over the past three years, including more than 500,000 wounded, 6.5 million uprooted from their homes, and more than 160,000 killed.
As state members of the WHO wrapped up their annual meeting on Friday, the plenary confirmed a resolution adopted by a committee on Thursday by a vote of 105 countries voting in support (including EU states) to 5 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Papua New Guinea and the U.S.).
There were 6 abstentions (Andorra, Armenia, Burundi, Colombia, Congo, New Zealand), and 60 absent.
The text focused on Palestinian health conditions allegedly harmed by Israel, and was proposed by Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
It is paradoxical that these sponsors are not exactly known for contributing to the world's health, while Israel, in proportional terms, contributes more to medical science and bio-technology than any other country in the world.
In its submission to the assembly, Syria accused Israel of "inhumane practices" that "target the health of Syrian citizens."
It's the height of hypocrisy for Syria -- which is gassing its own citizens to death when not dropping barrel bombs on entire neighborhoods -- to denounce Israel, and even more so when Israeli hospitals are treating more and more Syrian victims of Assad's butchery.
Although this year's resolution was substantially shortened compared to previous years' resolutions, by continuing to single out Israel as the only country-specific item on its agenda and as the only country to be targeted for criticism in a resolution, the UN has once again allowed the politics of demonization to hijack the noble purpose of promoting world health.
To see the Assad regime point the finger at Israel out of professed concern for the health of Syrians is nothing but a sick joke.
Assad's troops have slaughtered more than 160,000 of their own people, and are now busy destroying the lives of millions more. Why is the UN allowing mass murderers to deflect attention from their crimes by scapegoating democracies?
A world health assembly should be about Hippocrates -- not hypocrisy.
Out of 24 items on this year's WHO agenda, all but one addressed global themes. The exception turned a spotlight on Israel. No other country in the world -- not Mexico, Russia, Syria, or anyone else -- was treated this way.