U.N. body slams Israel on health of Syrians in ‘occupied Golan’


(JTA) — The World Health Organization condemned Israel and called for “health-related technical assistance” to “the Syrian population in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Russia, China, India, Mexico and Brazil were among 53 counties that voted last week for the condemnation during the annual assembly of the United Nations body in Geneva. They joined Syria, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Zimbabwe, among others.

According to UN Watch, a Geneva-based organization, the condemnation of Israel was the only country-specific resolution adopted among the 25 items that were debated and voted on at the assembly.

Israel was criticized for the health situation “in the occupied Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan.” The resolution did not mention the civil war in Syria in which an estimated 80,000 have died.

Fifty country delegates abstained from voting on the resolution, including all of the European Union’s 27 members as well as South Korea, Ukraine and Senegal. Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia were the only countries that voted against the resolution. Delegates from 74 nations were absent from the vote

Israel’s government in a statement termed the vote “an absurd example of the way the assembly’s agenda is cynically abused and the World Health Organization’s limited resources squandered.”

One of the documents submitted to the assembly to support its validity was a report by Syria’s health ministry that said “the health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan continue to deteriorate.”

In a report released this week, Amnesty International said more than 4.5 million Syrians are internally displaced within their own country and about 1.5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries, where many live in overcrowded refugee camps.

The international community has had a “spectacular failure” in Syria, Amnesty said.

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