The UK is voting against this text because it is the only country-specific resolution at the WHA. It singles out Israel and unhelpfully politicises the WHO.
However our voting must not be taken to imply that we are not deeply concerned by the health situation and needs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the health impact of the Israeli occupation.
We recognise that the conflict, and the absence of peace, affects the health and well-being of millions of civilians. Recent events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories serve to remind us that the situation is getting worse, not better. Since last year, the health-care situation in Gaza has continued to deteriorate, injuries from Israel’s use of live fire in response to the Gaza protests have placed immense strain on healthcare provision, and reductions in aid have placed funding for hospitals in East Jerusalem at risk.
However, it is troubling that The World Health Assembly does not consider any of the many other dreadful conflicts, civil wars, or political impasses around the world in the same way. The resolution on the health situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories remains the only one of its kind.
We fail in our duty to serve people around the world who are facing vitally important heath needs if we allow the WHO to become politicized. This is equally true for the business of other UN and international bodies. So today, the United Kingdom voted, as we have before, against this politicisation of the World Health Assembly.