Image: WHO Executive Board meeting on the health and humanitarian situation in Gaza, Sunday the 10th.
n a fragile show of unity, the World Health Organization Executive Board approved a draft resolution calling for “immediate, sustained and unimpeded” humanitarian relief to beleaguered Gaza, including safe passage of health personnel and supplies, as well as ambulances and patients.
The WHO EB move, which will clear the resolution for approval by the May World Health Assembly, represents the first-ever consensus statement on the charged conflict so far in a UN body. The draft resolution on “Health Conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” carefully sidesteps any direct references either to Hamas or Israel in a charged conflict where both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and their allies, have accused each other of genocide and war crimes.
Sunday’s approval of the WHO EB resolution came just two days after another UN Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza was vetoed by the United States because it did not condemn the initial Hamas 7 October attack on Israeli communities, which led to the deaths of some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the taking of more than 240 Israeli hostages.
US deputy ambassador Robert Wood had called Friday’s UN resolution “imbalanced”, saying that a cease fire that left Hamas in power in Gaza would “only plant the seeds for the next war.”
The WHO EB resolution, in contrast, focusses on humanitarian relief, making only one reference in the preamble to the broader UN “appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire.” Along with general calls for the free flow of aid and relief to besieged Palestinians, it also mandates WHO to lay plans for the rebuilding of Gaza’s shattered health system.
Operative paragraphs of the draft WHA resolution approved by the WHO EB on Sunday: