The WHO rejects Israel39s allegations of collusion with Hamas

The WHO rejects Israel's allegations of collusion with Hamas

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday rejected allegations of “collusion” with Hamas made by Israel the previous day.

• Also read: Israel accuses WHO of “collusion” with Hamas

“Such false accusations are harmful and can endanger our employees who risk their lives to help vulnerable people,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on X (ex-Twitter).

“As a United Nations agency, WHO is impartial and committed to the health and well-being of all,” he added.

At a WHO Executive Board meeting on Thursday, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, accused Hamas of “militarizing the entire civilian sector of the Gaza Strip as part of a deliberate strategy.”

“These are undeniable facts that the WHO continues to ignore. This is not about incompetence. “This is collusion,” she accused.

Israel accuses Hamas of exploiting the special protection of health facilities under martial law to use hospitals for attacks and to hide tunnels and weapons.

The Islamic movement denies this.

According to Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, “WHO knew that hostages were being held in hospitals and that terrorists were operating there.”

“Even when concrete evidence was presented about what was happening underground and above ground, weapons, headquarters, locked rooms, the WHO chose to turn a blind eye and endanger those it was supposed to protect,” she insisted.

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In response to Mr Tedros' statements, Meirav Eilon Shahar hit the nail on the head on Friday. “There is clear evidence of Hamas’ use of hospitals,” she emphasized to X.

There is also evidence, she added, “that hostages were taken to medical facilities following the brutal October 7 massacre.”

“These are first-hand accounts and CCTV footage. These are not “false allegations”. These are facts. Yet you didn’t say anything.”

“By not condemning Hamas and taking measures to prevent it from establishing itself in hospitals and civilian areas, you endanger those you are supposed to protect,” she said.

“You deserve better,” the ambassador added.

Asked about this point on December 21, Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian territories, asserted that the organization was “not in a position to verify how each hospital was used.”

“WHO's role is to monitor, analyze and report… We are not an investigative organization,” he said.

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At the same Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, Dr. Tedros almost in tears as he spoke about the situation in Gaza.

The war was sparked by Hamas's unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7, which killed more than 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official data.

About 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza, about 100 of whom were released in late November as part of a ceasefire in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. According to the same count, 132 hostages remain in the area, 28 of whom are believed to have died.

According to the Islamist movement's health ministry, Israel vowed to “destroy” Hamas and launched a massive military operation that killed 26,083 Palestinians, the vast majority women, children and teenagers.