Israel blasted for preventing Palestinians from receiving Covid vaccine
International organizations, human rights groups, and Palestinian officials have blasted the Israeli regime for denying the distribution of coronavirus vaccines among Palestinians in the occupied territories, saying it underscore the regime’s “institutionalized discrimination”.
The United Nations UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Amnesty International expressed grave concern over Israel’s unequal distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
The UN’s new peace coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, asked Israel on Tuesday to ensure it helps Palestinians receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Head of the WHO office for the Palestinian territories, Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, recently raised “concerns” about the unequal distribution of coronavirus vaccines in Israel, which has given shots to more than 20% of its population, but Palestinians have not received any.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also accused Israel of not providing any vaccinations to Palestinian people.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International said Israel “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.”
“Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine programme highlights the institutionalized discrimination that defines Israeli policy towards Palestinians. While Israel celebrates a record-setting vaccination drive, millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will receive no vaccine or have to wait much longer – there could hardly be a better illustration of how Israeli lives are valued above Palestinian ones,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Over half a century of occupation and enforcement of a system of institutionalized discrimination in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, Israel has deprived Palestinians of their basic rights and committed mass human rights violations, Amnesty International said in an article on its website.
Israel must end its discriminatory policies and remove any barriers that may hinder Palestinians from accessing or enjoying health care, Amnesty added.
On 22 December, 10 human rights and health organizations issued a statement calling on Israel to ensure that its vaccination campaign includes Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.