Golan Heights
Golan Heights Israel news photo: Flash 90

Syria, which consistently violates the human rights of its own citizens, has slammed Israel over what it says is the "deterioration of the health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan as a result of the suppressive practices of the Israeli occupation."

According to a report on Thursday in the Yisrael Hayom daily, Syria made the allegations against Israel in a report it presented to the UN's World Health Organization on Monday of this week.

Under the rubric of "Health Conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan," the conference featured four reports scrutinizing Israel, and a brief reply from the Jewish state.

According to UN Watch, nowhere in the WHO agenda or supporting documents is there any mention of the more than 80,000 civilians slaughtered in Syria, the tens of thousands more who have been injured or disfigured, the 2.5 million refugees, including 600,000 children, strewn across the region, or the 2 million children internally displaced.

In a report to the WHO's 66th World Health Assembly, Syria's Health Ministry said that Syrians were being deprived of medical treatment for rejecting Israeli citizenship, and there was an "acute shortage of primary and tertiary health care services owing to the lack of integrated medical centers in the occupied Syrian Golan," according to Yisrael Hayom.

The Syrian report accuses Israel of torturing Syrians held in Israeli prisons, saying they "continue to be held in inhumane conditions of detention."

It also accuses Israel of using Arab and Syrian detainees for "testing medicines," after which they are "brutally tortured and coerced into confessing crimes they never committed. Prisoners are also injected with dangerous viruses that cause them to develop diseases and disabilities, even with a fatal outcome."

The report also accuses Israel of burying nuclear waste in the Golan and "planting the ceasefire line with nuclear and radioactive land mines," Yisrael Hayom reported.

"Israeli occupation authorities are continuing to bury nuclear waste in more than 20 sites, as well as more than 1,500 barrels of radioactive and toxic materials dumped in secret landfills in the occupied Syrian Golan territories," the report said.

It asked the WHO "to end inhuman Israeli practices that target the health of Syrian citizens."

The report, and Syria's presentation of it at an official UN assembly, has been described as "absurd" by the Israeli representative to the WHO.

Israel's Permanent Mission to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva said in a statement quoted by Yisrael Hayom, "The position of the State of Israel has always been that a politically motivated debate and resolution on the item 'Health Conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan' has no place on the agenda of the World Health Assembly. The Health Assembly should not discuss the health situation of a population in a specific conflict, as it is not of a general public health nature.

"The Health Assembly is not the forum to discuss the narrative of an ongoing conflict, nor the place to decide on political matters. The constantly improving health situation in the Palestinian territory as reflected by a number of indicators and the fact that all residents of the Golan Heights enjoy high-quality medical services equal to all other residents of Israel, only emphasize that it is better for the World Health Assembly to turn its attention and limited financial resources toward regions in which its involvement is really required and highly expected.

"The above is even more valid given the ongoing deteriorating situation in Syria, especially with regard to the health situation of the people of Syria and the incomprehensible destruction caused to the public health facilities of the country. The State of Israel regards the continuous World Health Assembly's debate on the health conditions in the 'occupied Syrian Golan,' as an absurd example of the way the assembly's agenda is cynically abused [and the] World Health Organization's limited resources squandered, and will not cooperate with it."

Israel has several times transferred wounded Syrian citizens from the country’s civil to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.

There were two such instances in the first week of May only.

At the end of March, the IDF brought several wounded Syrians into Israel after they appeared at the northern border.

A week earlier, four wounded Syrians similarly arrived at the border with Israel, seeking medical care. Two were evacuated to hospitals in Israel and the others were provided with first aid and returned to Syria.

In February, seven Syrians were rushed to Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat, all having been wounded in clashes on the Golan Heights between opposition forces and government troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. One was listed in critical condition.

In such cases, the identity of the wounded Syrians is not normally released to media, and it is not known whether they were fighters or civilians – nor to which side in the country’s civil war they belong.

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