While European leaders are thanking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his advice in how to approach the COVID-19 pandemic, one international organization seems to have forgotten the role of the Jewish state in curbing the coronavirus’ spread through its own country and others.
The United Nations has excluded Israel from its map and its list of countries in the Middle East affected by the pandemic compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO is “the directing and coordinating authority for public health within the United Nations system.” The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is one of WHO’s six regional offices comprising “21 member states and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), with a population of nearly 679 million people.”
The UN remains a forum for anti-Israel sentiment even with meetings taking place through internet conference calls and not in its New York headquarters as usual.
“At this time, despite Israel’s aid to the Palestinian Authority, we hear inciting comments coming from the Palestinian Prime Minister [Mohammad Shtayyeh], who accuses IDF soldiers of spreading coronavirus to the PA,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said. “There is no place for such senseless statements by the leadership of the PA. The UN must condemn these remarks.”
Some UN officials have praised the “unprecedented” and “excellent” cooperation between Jerusalem and Ramallah, including US deputy ambassador to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet.
“Recent engagement between Israelis and Palestinians to prevent widespread #COVID19 harm is encouraging and speaks to the power of dialogue that we have been urging the parties to engage in for months,” she wrote on Twitter. “Achieving mutually beneficial solutions is possible.”
She called it “a tangible demonstration of the good that comes – and the human lives that can literally be saved – when leaders come to the table just to talk with one another – to recognize one another’s dignity, and to do the hard work of laying out a path to a safer, healthier, more prosperous future.”
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