GENEVA: The World Health Organization on Friday denied Israel’s claim that the WHO was in collusion with Hamas by ignoring Israeli evidence of the “military use” of hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that such accusations could endanger its staff on the ground.
Tedros was responding to claims made Thursday by Israeli ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar at a meeting of the UN health agency’s board.
“WHO refutes Israel’s accusation at the executive board meeting yesterday that WHO is in ‘collusion’ with Hamas and is ‘turning a blind eye’ to the suffering of hostages being held in Gaza,” Tedros said on X.
“Such false claims are harmful and can endanger our staff who are risking their lives to serve the vulnerable.
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“As a United Nations agency, WHO is impartial and is working for the health and well-being of all people.”
Earlier this month he told a press conference that healthcare should always be protected. It “cannot be attacked and it cannot be militarised”, he said.
Eilon Shahar had said Hamas was embedding itself in hospitals in the Gaza Strip and was using human shields in the Palestinian territory.
In “every single hospital that the IDF searched in Gaza, it found evidence of Hamas’ military use,” she said Thursday.
“These are undeniable facts that WHO chooses to ignore time and time again. This is not incompetence; it is collusion.
“The WHO knew hostages were held in hospitals and that terrorists operated within.