Gaza gets its first COVID-19 vaccine shipment after ‘Israel’ banned its entry

Gaza Strip (QNN)- ‘Israel’ has allowed Palestinian officials to send the first shipment of 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the besieged Gaza Strip, after it banned the entry of the shipment earlier this week.

“The 1,000 Sputnik vaccines delivery, donated by Russia and provided to the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority, have just been transferred,” an Israeli security official said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 2,000 doses of the Russian ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine were supposed to enter Gaza Strip on Monday, however, ‘Israel’, after it banned the entry of the shipment, has allowed the entry of only 1000 doses to Gaza Strip, which has a population of about 2 million.

“We will use the doses to vaccinate patients who had organ transplants and those who suffer kidney failure,” Majdi Dhair, a Gaza health ministry official, told Reuters news agency.

“Medical personnel will not be vaccinated this time as the shipment is not enough,” Dhair said.

To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2147 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 538 in Gaza strip. More than 50,000 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.

Last month, ‘Israel’ agreed to transfer only 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers.

More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, received the vaccination in less than two weeks– the highest rate in the world – while it excluded the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

The Israeli minister of health has said that 3.8 million Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19, 2.5 million of whom were vaccinated with the first and second doses.

‘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.

(Source / 17.02.2021)

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