A significant majority of countries voting at the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) on Wednesday backed a resolution on health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The resolution, which was supported by Turkey, was passed despite opposition from Israel and other countries including the US and the UK.
There were 83 votes in favor and 14 against the resolution, while 39 countries abstained.
The resolution was proposed by Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Africa, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The countries that voted against the resolution included Israel, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, the UK, and the US.
Those opposing the resolution said the item politicized the WHO and was the only item on the agenda that singled out a specific nation.
“The recent indiscriminate Israeli attacks have once again targeted hospitals, clinics, doctors, and patients,” said Sadik Arslan, Turkey’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva.
He said the Palestinian people are facing significant challenges in many areas, including the health sector.
“Unfortunately, despite the fact that hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the recent events in the occupied Palestinian territories, those countries who object to the draft decision are advocating for health only as a political choice,” he said.
At least 254 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and 39 women, and more than 1,900 others injured in Israel’s 11-day assault on the Gaza Strip, while 31 more were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, according to official Palestinian figures.
One item in the resolution called “to ensure sustainable procurement of WHO prequalified vaccines and medicine and medical equipment to the occupied Palestinian territory in compliance with the international humanitarian law and the WHO norms and standards.”
Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said after the vote that the nations who opposed the resolution had “acknowledged that the politicization of the World Health Organization must end.”
“The other member states have chosen to continue to allow the Syrians to whitewash their own abhorrent crimes. They’ve chosen to continue to allow the Palestinians to hijack this professional forum and turn it into another place to pursue political goals,” she said.