UN health body worried about 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.”

The condemnation appeared in Item 20 out of 25 items debated and then voted on during the annual assembly of the United Nation’s body in Geneva. Item 20 criticized Israel for the health situation “in the occupied Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan.”


The resolution which passed last week did not mention the bloody civil war in Syria, in which so far an estimated 80,000 have died. According to UN Watch, a Geneva-based organization, Item 20 was the only country-specific resolution adopted.

Fifty-three countries voted in favor of the resolution, including Syria, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Zimbabwe, as well as Russia, China, India, Mexico and Brazil.

One of the documents submitted to the assembly to support the validity of Item 20 was a report by Syria’s health ministry, which says “the health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan continue to deteriorate.”

Another 50 country delegates abstained during the vote, 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, which Israel’s government termed in a statement “an absurd example of the way the assembly’s agenda is cynically abused and the World Health Organization’s limited resources squandered.”

In its 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.