The WHO’s Unhealthy Obsession with Israel

The World Health Assembly—the annual meeting of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO)—will conclude in Geneva tomorrow. As it has every year since 1968, it dedicated part of its time to discussing “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” The fact that this is a permanent yearly agenda item for the assembly has nothing to do with any special medical circumstances in these areas, nor with any particular ability the WHO has to provide healthcare to their inhabitants. Rather, it is another example of the capture of the United Nations by the anti-Israel movement. David May explains:

The WHO’s 2021 report on Israel, like ones before it, made no mention of Hamas’s deleterious effects on Palestinian healthcare. During the 2014 war, Hamas operated out of Gaza’s Shifa hospital, turning its doctors into human shields. While Gaza was in a COVID-19 lockdown in August 2020, Hamas launched numerous incendiary devices at Israel, thereby increasing Israel’s restrictive measures on the coastal enclave. Hamas has a long history of abusing medical travel permits to Israel to conduct terrorist attacks. And Hamas diverts Palestinian funds that could have provided for healthcare to instead provide for deadly weapons. None of this made the cut.

The WHO report clarified that the Palestinian Authority (PA) severed ties with Israel in May 2020 “in the context of the further annexation of large parts of the West Bank announced by Israel,” but failed to mention that the annexation never occurred. The termination of ties undoubtedly hindered the collaborative healthcare efforts necessary to fight a pandemic.

[But] the report’s main flaw is that it [makes] Israel . . . the only country subject to an annual resolution and report. . . . When the Biden administration announced it would resume funding for the WHO last year, it promised to pursue reforms of the agency. But the administration’s engagement-only strategy hasn’t curtailed the WHO’s anti-Semitism.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations, WHO

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount