By Emily Gian
There is something decidedly unhealthy about the lengths that the Palestinian leadership has been going to in order to delegitimise Israel in the international arena.
Even more sickening is the way that their propaganda is willingly accepted without question by the international community – even when the subject matter is blatantly false and misleading and quite frankly unhelpful in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict with their neighbour.
Not that long ago, the Palestine Authority managed to gain non-member status at the United Nations ahead of other national groups with equal or better rights to such a position (the Kurds for instance) and more worryingly, it took little time for them to adopt their strategy to coerce UNESCO into a nonsensical resolution which denies the obvious historical Jewish connection to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
The most recent episode of deception relating to the World Health Organisation (WHO) takes this nonsense to a whole new level.
A little over a week ago WHO held its annual assembly in Geneva. Twenty-four resolutions were passed but only one of them singled out a country for reprimand, and of course, you do not have to guess that the country in question was Israel.
The resolution, entitled, “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”, was proposed by the delegation of Kuwait on behalf of the Arab Group in general and Palestine in particular. The resolution accused Israel of violating the “mental, physical and environmental health” of Palestinians in the disputed territories and Syrians in the Golan Heights region.
The resolution was passed by a vote of 107-8 with 8 abstentions and 58 absent. Australia, the US, Canada, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea joined Israel in opposing the resolution but to their everlasting shame Britain, France and Germany and many European states were gullible enough to join the Arab and Moslem countries and their acolytes that voted in favour.
Hillel Neuer, UN Watch Executive Director said, “Shame on Britain, France and Germany for encouraging this hijacking of the annual world health assembly, and diverting precious time, money, and resources from global health priorities, in order to wage a political prosecution of Israel, especially when, in reality, anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they are providing world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs, as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad.”
UN Watch continued:
The EU states could have introduced their own resolution about how Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people, destroying the health rights of the Syrian people … With today’s vote, which robs the world health assembly of limited time and resources in order to portray Israel as the world’s only violator of health rights—when in fact Israel is the beacon of the entire region on promoting and respecting the health rights of all people—the entire EU now descends into irrationalism…. By scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems, just as medieval Europe once accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the EU aids and abets the UN and its World Health Organization to betray the cause of humanity and the very principles upon which they were founded.”
Omer Caspi, the Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN delivered a rebuttal where he also pulled up WHO for not condemning countries like Syria and Yemen. In defence of Israel he said, “Meanwhile, the life expectancy of Palestinians continued on an upward trend. Under-five mortality rate was down. Infant mortality all together was down significantly. These are by far better result than the Arab States group average and comparable with the High Human Development group. Moreover, despite growing Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis, close to 100,000 Palestinians from the West Bank were treated in Israeli hospitals.
“Regarding the Golan Heights, all Golan inhabitants, including the Druze population, enjoy the same health care as all Israelis. Israeli hospitals have been treating close to 3,000 Syrian victims of the war. There are no restrictions whatsoever on access to the Golan Heights … WHO is a professional organization and should leave politics to the political institutions of the UN. It should deal with health emergencies. These lie elsewhere. It is absurd that we should sit here year after year, listening to a political harangue against my country as well as to my rebuttal. This theatre of the absurd must come to an end.”
The leader of Israel’s Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid wrote a letter to the Director-General of WHO accusing his organisation of allowing itself “to be used by those who seek to alienate the State of Israel through a campaign of delegitimization. This orchestrated campaign against the sole Jewish state in the world is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism… Your organization veered away from its mandate and waded into the campaign to delegitimize Israel. In between important discussions on the Zika virus, shortages in medical equipment and vaccine action plans, the WHO highlighted Israel… for so called abuses.”
The entire saga was bizarre enough at this point in time but things got much worse when it was revealed that the report submitted by the Palestinians to WHO in support of the resolution was filled with fake pictures, doctored images, distorted facts and outright lies.
CAMERA has listed a number of instances throughout the report where Israel has been accused of outrageous claims. For example, on page 29:
“In April 2013 the Russian newspaper Pravda accused Israel of injecting a number of Palestinian prisoners who were approaching their release date with cancer-causing viruses. Despite Israel’s rejection of the accusations made by the newspaper, the question remains: is it true that Israel is injecting prisoners with viruses?”
The lowlight of this incredible piece of work can be found in a photograph on page 40 which purports to to be of Israeli jets bombing Gaza. The original however, was a photoshopped illustration of how Israel might bomb nuclear reactors in Iran – in other words, it was not a real photograph in the first place. It was then doctored further by erasing mountains and towers, to make it appear to be a picture from Gaza. On the same page, there is a photo of a man and his son, with the caption that they are sitting amongst the rubble of their house in Gaza. In examination however, it was discovered that the photograph was from Lebanon.
Another picture claims to be of Israelis attacking a Palestinian child, but the truth is that the photo depicts the eviction of Israeli settlers. It might have been from Gaza or the West Bank but there was not a single Palestinian in sight.
The faux photography used by the Palestinians is becoming commonplace but what makes it amusing is how this makes its way into the media which often gladly accepts it without question. However, when it ends up in a report submitted to a UN body and gains credibility and willing support from nation after nation ending up in a resolution of a supposedly eminent world body, it beggars belief.
What makes it even more tragic is the lie itself is doing untold damage to the cause of peace in the region.
The Palestinian leadership, their families and thousands of their people take advantage of Israel’s health system on an annual basis and the Jewish State has been at the forefront of treating victims of Syria’s brutal civil war.
This irony is the thanks it gets from the world for its hospitality and for the way it treats those who one might regard as its enemies in a world where we see mindless slaughter on a daily basis. We needn’t be reminded that very close to Israel, just beyond those Golan Heights, a quarter of a million souls have perished as a result of Syrian brutality (with no thanks to the powerless UN).
Time and time again, we lament that the media, that the UN and that countless other bodies around the world routinely ignore the reality of what is going on around them only to accept false narratives concocted by Israel’s supposed peace partner, thereby pushing further away the prospect of achieving peace any time soon.
Emily Gian is the Media & Advocacy Director at the Zionist Federation of Australia