Following a wave of criticism, ‘Israel’ to start vaccinating prisoners next week

Israel’s health minister announced on Thursday that ‘Israel’ would vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against COVID-19.

This came after a wave of criticism from human rights groups and Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin comments that withholding vaccines was “against Israel’s Jewish and democratic values.”

Israeli public security minister Amir Ohana refused to give coronavirus vaccine to Palestinian prisoners, saying that vaccinating Palestinian prisoners is “not a priority,” a move that the Palestinian organizations call “racism” and aimed at “increasing the suffering of prisoners and to psychologically torture them and their families.”

On Thursday, a spokesman for Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that prisoners, including Palestinians, are expected to begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations next week after he received a letter from President Rivlin.

A group of United Nations human rights experts on Thursday urged Israel to ensure vaccines are made available to the more than 4.5 million Palestinians who “will remain unprotected and exposed to COVID-19, while Israeli citizens living near and among them — including the Israeli settler population — will be vaccinated.”

“Morally and legally, this differential access to necessary health care in the midst of the worst global health crisis in a century is unacceptable,” the experts said in a statement.

Amnesty International also called on ‘Israel’ to provide coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, saying ‘Israel’ was obligated to do so under international law.

“The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty International.

Palestinian Prisoners Society said 199 Palestinian prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

According to Palestinian estimates, there are 4,400 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including 41 women, 170 children, and around 380 people held under Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

(Source / 15.01.2021)

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