PNGO Reminds WHO that Jerusalem Is under Belligerent Occupation
" Publish Date : 2012/10/02 "



The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) is gravely concerned and unsatisfied over WHO’s intent to hold its First European Conference on the New European Policy for Health in the occupied West Bank city of Jerusalem. Under international law East Jerusalem is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel’s decision to annex it is null and void as land cannot be acquired by annexation, a principle set forth by article 4(2) of the UN Charter. The United Nations has in many resolutions affirmed the illegality of the Israeli annexation decision. In resolution 478, and in response to Israel’s decision to annex the city, the United Nations Security Council emphasized  that acquisition of territory or its annexation by force is forbidden under international law. The resolution further affirmed the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the City as part of the occupied territory.  More importantly the resolution requested member states to move their diplomatic missions from the city in clear indication that their mere presence in Jerusalem contravenes international law and the purposes of the UN. Here we find it necessary to remind WHO of its status as one of the UN specialized agencies that should respect UN resolutions and international law and principles of democracy and human rights.


To our shock WHO has chosen Israel as a country to carry out its First Conference on the New European Policy for Health in. By this decision WHO appears to be rewarding law breakers who do not even give the minimum respect to the UN itself. Examples on Israel’s disregard to the UN are numerous. We would just mention Israel’s bombing of UNRWA’s main office in Gaza during the recent offensive of Gaza and its attack against one of the UNFIL sites in the south Lebanon during the 2006 war. It should be enough to say that Israel has not complied with a single UN resolution since its establishment. What makes the decision even more shocking is that WHO chose to hold it in Jerusalem. This can be construed, one way or another, as an approval of Israel’s annexation decision, contrary to UN will. Given all of these facts, we believe that WHO’s decision is questioned.


On another level related to WHO’s mandate as health organization it should be mentioned that Israel’s history is rich with attacks against health institutions, ambulances and the sick themselves. Dozens of Palestinian women delivered at check points and road blocks after they had been denied access to hospitals by Israeli occupying forces. Many health workers including doctors and nurses got killed while on duty. Ambulances have been targeted and crushed by tanks many times. We do not need to provide an evidence on this as we are sure that everybody has seen it on TV stations live. Besides, we would not say anything about how grave these practices are under international humanitarian and human rights law as WHO knows this. This said we would like to emphasize the following:

·         WHO is one of the respected international organizations whose services are highly valued everywhere. Therefore, WHO should not lose such respect by taking such hasty decisions.

·         WHO should reconsider its decision and at least change the place of the Conference.

·         WHO’s insistence on holding the Conference in Jerusalem is seen as an approval of Israel’s decision to annex the occupied city and encouragement to Israel to go further in its illegal practices against Palestinians, which can be sometimes seen as complicity in crimes.

Finally, we call on WHO to reconsider its decision and stand beside the victims of the conflict rather than helping perpetrators. Contrary to this WHO would be acting against its own objective represented in “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health” which Israel does not respect.


24 novembre 2011   



The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO)