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WHO Condemns Israel for Health Violations against Palestinians


The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday condemned Israel for its violations of health rights in the Palestinian territories and in the occupied Golan Heights during the coronavirus pandemic.

Representatives from dozens of countries, including Malaysia, Lebanon and Venezuela delivered speeches slamming Israel for harming health rights.

The WHO report further criticizes Israel for Palestinians’ “mental health and psychosocial problems”, due to the self-declared Jewish state’s “discriminatory planning policies and practices towards Palestinians” in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under the Israeli military and administrative jurisdiction. As well as for the violence which Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip were faced with during the “March of Return” demonstrations.

Following a 78 to 14 vote, with 32 abstentions and 56 countries absent, the assembly adopted a resolution requiring the same debate be held next year.

Countries voting in favor of the resolution included, among others, France, India, Ireland, and Spain. Meanwhile, Israel, the US, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras and Hungary all voted against it.

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

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

Resolution: “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”

Votes in favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Votes against: 

Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Czech Republic, Eswatini, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Micronesia (Federated States of), Slovenia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.


Austria, Barbados, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay.


Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.

Palestinian health workers battle the pandemic against a backdrop of violence, obstruction and ongoing impunity

Paramedic Mohammed Jihad Abu Kashif was injured while on duty at the Great March of Return demonstrations in Gaza on 4 January 2019. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) once again joined our partners in the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) to highlight continuing attacks on health workers around the world, including the occupied Palestinian territory. 

The Coalition’s annual report charts at least 1,200 incidents of violent threats to health workers, facilities and transports perpetrated across 20 countries in 2019. 

 In 2019, 226 incidents were reported in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, resulting in 304 injuries to health workers and damage to at least 35 ambulances. The majority of these incidents occurred in the context of Israel’s widespread and systematic use of excessive force – including live ammunition, teargas and rubber-coated steel bullets – against civilian protesters at the “Great March of Return” demonstrations in Gaza, which continued throughout 2019.

Two Palestinian health workers also died after being shot by Israeli forces last year. On March 27, Israeli forces fatally shot Sajed Mizher, a 17-year-old volunteer health worker with the Palestine Medical Relief Society, while he was caring for people injured during clashes at Dheisheh Camp, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Paramedic Mohammed al-Jedeili, was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the face, causing a skull fracture, while working at the “Great March of Return” protests on May 3. He died on June 10.

The case of paramedic Sabreen Qeshta, who was shot twice while working at the protests in Gaza, is also featured in the report. In June, Sabreen says she received a head injury while evacuating and providing first aid to injured demonstrators, affecting her sight. Then when she was back on duty in September, a bullet entered her hand and abdomen. She now walks with difficulty and needs help with most daily tasks. Sabreen described the circumstances of her second injury to MAP:

“I was providing first aid to a child who was suffering from tear gas inhalation about 70 metres from the fence. Once the child was in the ambulance, I started moving away. With every step I took, an Israeli jeep followed me and opened fire next to my legs and near my face. When I was about 300 meters from the fence, they opened heavy fire. There were three injured people on the ground. As I was leaning down to help one, a bullet hit me.”

A colleague of Sabreen’s, Abdullah Al-Qutati, was also shot dead by Israeli forces in August 2018.

In the report, the Coalition make a number of key recommendations on how to improve adherence to international law and protect healthcare (p15-17), including calling on states to: “Take strong diplomatic actions against perpetrators of violence against health care through public condemnations, demarches, and other mechanisms” and “Take actions to ensure respect for international humanitarian law, as set forth in the first article of each of the four Geneva Conventions.”


Article Source: HTTPS://UNWATCH.ORG