Israel slams WHO for overlooking Hamas exploitation of Gaza hospitals

In letter, health minister and ministry head accuse international health body of ignoring evidence of Hamas using Gaza's health facilities for terror attacks and holding hostages in hospitals

The Health Ministry on Tuesday accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of overlooking Gaza terrorist groups' use of Al Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the territory, for military purposes.
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"On October 7, the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the dark days of the Holocaust, thousands of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli towns and communities, burned babies alive, raped women, tortured children in front of their parents and murdered more than 1,200 men and women, including entire families," Health Minister Ariel Buso and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov wrote in a letter to the head of the international health body, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, one week after the three met in Switzerland.
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תמונות מהובלת החטופים ורכבים צה"ליים במרחב בית החולים שיפא
תמונות מהובלת החטופים ורכבים צה"ליים במרחב בית החולים שיפא
Hamas terrorists with hostages at Al Shifa hospital
(Photo:: IDF)
"Hamas took hostage Israeli citizens, including babies, women and elderly people, many of whom severely ill and injured. Tragically, the WHO remained silent on the matter and took only symbolic measures in favor of the captive Israelis, while speaking out forcefully and critically against Israel's efforts to root out Hamas and defend Palestinian civilians."
In the letter, Buso and Bar-Siman-Tov wrote that Dr. Michael Ryan, director of the WHO Emergencies Program, recognized that medical facilities in Gaza were used for military purposes in violation of international law but doubted that acts of terror were conducted from beneath the hospital.
"The IDF showed CCTV footage clearly showing extensive terror activity above ground in and around the hospital, including holding hostages inside the facility, in contradiction to all rules of ethics.
"In light of this evidence, it is evident that the description provided by Ryan to the international community was wrong and misleading. We call on the WHO to immediately and publicly, recognize the cruel use by Hamas of health infrastructure to carry out its terror, and to denounce it and the detention of hostages there," they wrote.
"It is now clear that the WHO, at the very least, turned a blind eye to the use of health facilities to carry out acts of terror and as human shields by preventing civilians from leaving those facilities."
"In addition to hiding in and beneath the hospital and other medical facilities, Hamas continues to attack Israeli citizens, institutions and medical teams with rockets launched from within populated civilian areas, medical facilities and schools. That constitutes a double war crime.
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פעילות כוחות צה״ל בבית החולים שיפאא׳
פעילות כוחות צה״ל בבית החולים שיפאא׳
IDF forces at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
"In its failure to respond to those issues, the WHO is contributing to the ongoing conflict that is causing great suffering to many. The WHO must demand that the use of human shields and medical facilities for terror be immediately stopped, civilians be allowed to leave for safety and an immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."
Despite the harsh missive, Buso and Bar-Siman-Tov stopped short of withdrawing Israel's membership from the international health body. A Ynet review found that Israel recently paid its three-million-dollar annual membership fee.
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