World Health Organization Launches Investigation of Israel

In the era of Zika, chikungya, and Ebola (and other important, but more positive, disease-related news like the impending eradication of Guinea worm), you’d think the WHO would have its hands full. But you’d be wrong. Janice Halpern in the Wall Street Journal:

Yet the WHO found time at its annual meeting in May to tackle what it must consider a particularly pressing item: Israel, specifically conditions in “the occupied Palestinian territory” and “the occupied Syrian Golan.” A resolution, reported by the Geneva-based UN Watch, proposed that a field assessment be conducted to investigate. It passed 107-8, with eight abstentions.

The resolution, sponsored by the Palestinian delegation and the Arab bloc, was the only country-specific one considered. The WHO’s session neglected to address the bombing of Syrian hospitals by Syrian and Russian warplanes. It skipped the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, where the Saudi-led bombings and blockade have left millions without food and water.

Israel, like any country, makes mistakes. Its actions should be scrutinized, but it shouldn’t be held to an arbitrary, higher standard. Far from being outraged, the WHO should laud the Jewish state for its treatment of Syrians in the Golan. Israeli hospitals have stepped up to provide medical treatment to more than 3,000 refugees from the brutal civil war.

As Halpern points out, health conditions in the West Bank are by many measures unexceptional—indeed, they’re arguably better than those in any neighboring Arab country. No crisis precipitated this. And the WHO’s remit does not encompass geopolitics.

But for Israel, there’s always an exception.

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