Israel Institute of New Zealand co-director, Ashley Church, has slammed the Government for its recent support of a UN World Health Organisation (WHO) resolution which singled out Israel for the “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories, East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” and is demanding answers from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“The Government’s continual bias against Israel is bad enough – but this grubby little act of self-serving virtue signalling takes New Zealand’s record on Israel to a whole new low”.
“The Prime Minister needs to explain to New Zealanders why beating up on Israel has become ‘business as usual’ for this Government”
The World Health Organisation met on 22 May and considered an agenda containing 21 items – but only one of these (item No. 14 against Israel) focused on a specific country.
“Resolution 14 – which New Zealand supported – points the finger at Israel for increased health and mental health issues for Palestinians stemming from “trauma injuries and exposure to violence during the ‘Great March of Return’ – but completely ignores the leading role of Hamas and other terrorist groups in orchestrating that march and encouraging violent acts, by demonstrators, as they approached the Gaza-Israel border”
“Additionally, health conditions in the Palestinian territories are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority – which receives substantial international support to provide these, and other services. Why target Israel – which isn’t responsible for the health of Palestinians, but actually provides support to them regardless?”
Mr Church notes that Israeli hospitals and clinics continue to provide world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs every year as part of Israel’s humanitarian outreach – as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad.
Mr Church also notes that the WHO meeting contained no agenda item or resolution regarding any other country.
“Where was the resolution condemning Syria, where hospitals and medical infrastructure have suffered devastating bombings by Syrian and Russian forces? Where was the resolution condemning Yemen, where 19.7 million people lack access to health care service due to the current crisis? Where was the resolution condemning Venezuela, where the health system has collapsed, causing millions to flee the country?”
Mr Church says that the New Zealand Government is fully aware of these facts.
“They know these things because we’ve repeatedly told them and provided evidence – yet rather than taking an objective position, or at least standing back and examining the issues, they choose to side with regimes run by thugs, tyrants and those committed to the destruction of Israel.”
“Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters need to come out from under their cloak of political posturing and show some real leadership.”
The WHO vote was passed 96 to 11 on the resolution, with 21 abstentions and 56 nations absent. The ‘No’ votes came from nations including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras and Hungary.
“On what basis did New Zealand turn its back – not just on Israel, but on traditional allies – to vote in favour of a resolution which was clearly designed to politicise health for the purposes of making yet another attack on Israel”?
Mr Church also noted that Brazil and Germany had both recently announced that they would oppose biased UN resolutions against Israel and that their ‘no’ vote was consistent with that policy.
Mr Church says that the Israel Institute has recently produced a short video highlighting the issue of bias within the UN and that it has received considerable international interest.
“The UN bias toward Israel is clearly absurd and damaging to peace and stability. Rather than being a party to the gutless attacks of Israel’s enemies, New Zealand needs to stand firm and be a voice for stamping out the discrimination which exists in that international body”.