Israel denounced the 31st World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) here Tuesday after it adopted two Arab-sponsored resolutions condemning Israel for alleged acts detrimental to the health and welfare of the populations of south Lebanon and the West Bank. A resolution that accused Israel of destroying medical facilities in south Lebanon carried by consensus. Another Arab-drafted resolution accusing Israel of “arbitrary practices” that “affect the physical, social and psychological health conditions of the Arabs” on the West Bank was adopted by a vote of 63-21 with 12 abstentions. The U.S. voted against the draft.
The Israeli delegation expressed its “deep concern over the continuing politicization of the WHO as evidenced by its adoption of an Arab-inspired hostile anti-Israel resolution” on the West Bank that “took no notice of the facts in the territories and indulged in unsubstantiated condemnations and utterly irrelevant political statements.”
The Israeli delegation observed that the WHO, as the international agency “entrusted with the care for the health situation in the world…should not be distracted into regional conflicts” and “is not mandated to be, nor should it become, a forum for irresponsible political strife.”
With respect to the resolution on Lebanon, the Israeli delegate, Dr. Guy Kaiser, noted that it failed to acknowledge the medical assistance Israel has rendered Lebanese citizens through its open fence policy on the border.
ISRAEL DEFENDS ITS ACHIEVEMENTS
Israel pointed out that for two successive years it has accepted a visit by a special committee of experts to study health conditions on the West Bank on behalf of the WHO and while “it is to be regretted that the report produced by the special committee turned out to be a basically political document” that “omitted or belittled many outstanding achievements and improvements in the health system of territories, nevertheless it could not completely ignore many of the essential positive features of the situation which is basically sound and continually progressing.”
The delegate from Denmark, which represented the European Common Market in the voting, said he voted against the resolution because it did not reflect the report of the special committee and attacked the freedom of universality.
The American delegate said he voted against the resolution because according to the special committee’s report there has been progress in the medical conditions in the territories. He said that by causing the WHO to act on a political resolution, its work has been undermined.
(Meanwhile, observers in Jerusalem said that Israel expected the forthcoming UNESCO meeting in Paris to be turned into a forum for anti-Israel attacks since its agenda contains items concerning Jerusalem. Should those fears materialize, Israel is expected to take the offensive as it did after anti-Israel resolutions came up at the UNESCO meeting in December, 1974. At that time, Israel sought to enlist the support of liberal and academic opinion in the free world against the politicization of UN agencies.)