The real story behind Israeli regime’s vaccine success narrative
On December 19, Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in an event broadcast on live television. This began a high-paced national vaccination campaign that has seen more than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the country’s entire population, receive the jab in less than two weeks – the highest worldwide rate.
But there is a dark untold side to Israel’s “vaccine success story”: While it appears to be immunizing its citizens against COVID-19 at an unparalleled rate, the Israeli regime is not doing anything to vaccinate millions of Palestinians living under its military annexation. In a cruel irony, thousands of doses on the cusp of expiration were reportedly thrown away in Israeli clinics, while millions of Palestinians cannot have access to the vaccine.
Indeed, while the vaccine roll-out in Israel is said to include the Palestinian citizens of Israel, it excludes some five million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
Since 1967, these two Palestinian territories have been under Israel’s military annexation, with the latter also suffering from a blockade that was created back in 2007.
Among many things, this regime of absolute control has had a direct and highly detrimental influence not only on Palestinians’ access to healthcare but also the quality of the care available in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel’s occupation has left the Palestinian healthcare system seriously undersupplied and with insufficient medical resources and facilities. For years, instead of being allowed to develop self-sufficiency, Palestinians living in the occupied territories were forced to depend on outside help to meet their most basic healthcare needs.
Therefore, when COVID-19 hit, the Palestinian authorities could not implement effective pandemic mitigation strategies or obtain the necessary medications and vaccines to protect Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is yet to secure the required quantity of vaccinations to immunize the Palestinian population against COVID-19. And because of its dire financial situation, it will need significant outside assistance to make any substantial purchase.
Israeli regime’s heinous actions regarding vaccination are in obvious violation of Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that an occupier has the obligation of ensuring “the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics”. In other words, the Israeli regime has a legal duty to obtain a sufficient amount of COVID-19 vaccines for Palestinians suffering under its military annexation.
But if history is any indication, we all know that this will be one of countless humanitarian violations perpetrated against Palestinians by the Israeli regime.