On December 10, the executive board of the World Health Organization will convene in an uncommon emergency meeting to address the health crisis in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinian ambassador is advocating for increased medical assistance and easier access for foreign healthcare professionals.
The session will be called by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus after consulting with the chair from Qatar, as the WHO revealed on Monday that it had received requests to conduct the meeting from 15 different nations.
The meeting will primarily address Gaza, which is engaged in conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. It will also address attacks on the health sector in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“We want to empower the WHO and call for the Israeli side not to target the medical sector. We want to allow for fresh medical supplies,” he mentioned in conversation with Reuters.
Although not a member state of the WHO, the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is an observer with sway over the organization thanks to its supporters.
Israel said that the meeting demonstrated “double standards and disproportionate attention towards Israel in the multilateral arena”.
Due to fuel shortages and Israeli bombs, only a small portion of Gaza’s hospitals are still open, and those that are are being more and more overloaded with newly arrived wounded.
“One idea is to send more doctors in from around the world,” he further added.
Israel has charged Hamas with employing common Gazans as human shields by locating weaponry and command centers inside of medical facilities and other non-military structures.
As fighting in Gaza resumed on Saturday following the breakdown of a week-long truce, a senior advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population.
The United Nations humanitarian organization OCHA reports that 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have left their homes.
The 34-member WHO governing board convenes in January to set the agenda for the organization’s annual assembly. Regional groups make up the membership, with the US, Qatar, Senegal, Australia, and China among the countries holding seats.