‘Israel’ has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office announced on Sunday.
It was the first time that ‘Israel’ has confirmed the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians, who have not yet received any vaccines.
Gantz’s office said early Sunday the transfer had been approved. It had no further details on when that would happen.
Although ‘Israel’ has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout, it has been criticised for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine.
As of 3 January 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 159,034 Palestinians in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, have so far tested positive for coronavirus since the first confirmed case was reported in March 2020.
More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, receive the vaccination in less than two weeks – the highest rate in the world while It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.
‘Israel’ is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as an occupying power.
Under the fourth Geneva Convention, occupying forces are responsible for providing healthcare to the population of the occupied area.
Most states as well as the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, consider ‘Israel’ to be an occupying power.
The UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights organizations have called on ‘Israel’ to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is 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.
“These responsibilities, alongside its obligations under international human rights law, include providing vaccines in a nondiscriminatory manner to Palestinians living under its control, using as a benchmark what it provides for its own citizens. The Palestinian authorities’ own obligations to protect the right to health of Palestinians in areas where they manage affairs do not absolve Israel of its responsibilities,” said HRW.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2010 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 521 in Gaza strip.
(Source / 31.01.2021)