Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem

Year

2023

UN Body

World Health Organization

Session

Session Type

Special Session

Symbol

EBSS7/1

Agenda Item

Country Concerned

Israel

Condemnatory

Yes

Analysis

  • This December 2023 resolution is the product of a WHO Executive Board Emergency Special Session on the health situation in Gaza in the midst of the October 7th war. The resolution expresses concern only about the "catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip," including "inadequate humanitarian access" and "obstruction of fuel" for hospitals.
  • At the same time, it fails to condemn or even mention Hamas's October 7th massacre of Israeli families, including attacks on health facilities and personnel in Israel, or its continued indicrimninate rocket attacks against the Israeli civilian population which have caused damage to medical facilities in Israel, in addition to the physical and psychological harm.
  • The resolution also omits any mention of the Israeli hostages being held by Hamas in violation of international law, or Hamas's denial of ICRC access to, and information about, the medical condition of the hostages.
  • While some of the paragraphs call on "all parties" to comply with their obligations under interantional law, the overall tone and content of the resolution indicate that it is primarily directed at Israel. The resolution's one-sided focus on the impact of the conflict on Gaza civilians and the necesssity to ensure the entry of aid and medical supplies into Gaza without any acknowledgment of Hamas violations such as coopting humanitarian aid/medicines for military use and embedding its military operations in medical facilities further confirms that it is intended to target Israel.

Main Sponsors

Afghanistan, Morocco, Qatar, Yemen

Vote

Consensus

Key Praise

None

Key Criticism

  • "Expressing grave concern at the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and its vast consequences for the civilian population, and in light of the gravity of the current escalating situation, and the magnitude of the intense damage on the public health sector, that has, to this date, killed and injured thousands of civilians, the majority of them children, women and elderly, including humanitarian and health workers, in addition to thousands of victims who remain under the rubble."
  • "Emphasizing that all civilians, including health and humanitarian aid workers, must be protected, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and deploring in this regard the heavy civilian casualties and widespread destruction."
  • "Emphasizing that all civilians, including health and humanitarian aid workers, must be protected, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and deploring in this regard the heavy civilian casualties and widespread destruction."
  • "Expressing concern also at the dire situation of hospitals and other medical facilities and ambulances, and the obstruction of the provision of the fuel necessary for their operation…"
  • "CALLS FOR the immediate, sustained and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief…"
  • "CALLS UPON all parties to fulfil their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law to ensure, to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the supply and replenishment of medicine and medical equipment to the civilian population, and reaffirms that all parties to armed conflict must comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and medical personnel."
  • "DEMANDS that all parties fully comply with their obligations…to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities."
  • "DEMANDS further a sustained, orderly, unimpeded, safe and unobstructed passage for medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their equipment, transport and supplies, including surgical items, to all people in need, consistent with international humanitarian law…"

Full Vote

  • Yes0

  • No0

  • Abstain0

  • Absent0