Vaccination rates highlight the differences between Israelis and Palestinians between responsibility


Both are Palestinian residents of the Kafir ‘Aqab, an area under Israeli law that is part of greater Jerusalem, but after Jordan’s annexation in 1967 is considered an illegal area under international law.

It is away from Jerusalem by Israel’s massive concrete security wall. Jewish Israelis rarely come, except for military raids other than uniforms.

Mahmud Awadh, like thousands of other residents of the city, is a Palestinian identity document. His friend Anan Abu Aishe has an Israeli ID, which defines him as a permanent resident of East Jerusalem. This inspires him to join Israel’s world-leading vaccination campaign, which is to meet the government’s goal of vaccinating the entire country by the end of March.

But at least 4.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are left behind. No one has had injections so far, and most are unlikely to receive one anytime soon – as there is no Kovid-19 vaccination campaign in the Palestinian territories.

So, if Anan gets the vaccine and keeps swinging off the hook in the shop, along with his friend, who cuts and sells goat and cow meat, he says he will feel guilty.

“Half of the people here can’t take it so I’m not going to take it either, why would I take it when I can’t? I won’t,” he told CNN.

“It’s racist,” Mahmud said.

According to UN experts, a policy of vaccination that distinguishes between those with and without Israel’s ID is “unacceptable.”

The UN expert report states that Israel has been in occupation in Gaza and the West Bank since 1967, and is ultimately responsible for the health of the occupiers.

According to the report of experts published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights, Israel should extend its vaccination campaign to all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

A Palestinian health worker tests a woman on January 8, 2021 for Kovid-19 in the West Bank village of Dura, southwest of Hebron.
“Experts said that as the occupying power, under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is required, ‘to the full extent of the means available thereon’, to maintain health services in the occupied territory. Article 56 requires Israel There is a need to adopt and implement. ”The human rights body said in a statement,“ The necessary preventive and preventive measures to combat the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics were taken in collaboration with national and local authorities.

Experts also said: “4.5 million Palestinians will remain insecure and exposed to Kovid-19, while Israeli citizens and those living between them – including Israel’s resident population – will be vaccinated. Ethically and legally, it is essential for health. The difference is. Care is unacceptable amidst the worst global health crisis in a century. ”

But as Israel’s immunization campaign climbs 20% of the Israeli population (including East Jerusalem residents), this is not a symptom description that Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein accepts.

“Our calculations were based on Israeli citizens. If we get to the situation where everyone in the country who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated, we are more than willing to share the vaccines with our neighbors Will be, ”Edelstein told CNN.

“At this stage we are talking about the citizens of Israel … I have not heard of any obligation to pay vaccines for any other of Israel.”

The Israeli government points to Oslo’s allegations, signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s, which led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Included in the first of those agreements is a clause that assigns responsibility to the PA for the health of all Palestinians under its civil administration.

Experts agree that trying to navigate between the responsibilities entrusted by Oslo is not a straightforward task, which was not a final status agreement, and the duties performed under the Geneva Conventions.

In his interview with CNN, Edelstein rejected the decision in terms of interests rather than obligations.

“At this stage we are not supplying vaccines, but we understand that it is in Israel’s interest to ensure that we do not fall into a situation where we are vaccinated and then out of trouble, And there is another increase in numbers on the Palestinian side, “Edelstein added.

The rate at which Kovid-19 is confirmed in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem is higher than Israel (0.7%), but significantly lower than rates in the United States (1.7%) and the United Kingdom. . (2.6%), according to the World Health Organization.

PA Health Minister, Drs. Mai al-Kaleh, says he is expected to catch the Kovid-19 vaccine by the end of March, but no specific date has yet been set for his arrival. The ministry says it has contracted with four vaccine companies. The PA said in a January 9 statement, these vaccines would provide 70% of the Palestinian population and 20% to the World Health Organization.

At the Public Central Hospital in Ramallah, the Medicines work around the clock treating coronovirus patients in a Kovid-only intensive care unit. Like many other hospitals around the world, non-specialist staff have been drafted to deal with the epidemic. But after a prolonged lockdown, admissions are decreasing and ICU units are not full on the day CNN visits.

Dr. Wafa Shihadih, a general resident surgeon, has been working in Kovid-19 wards for months. He says that he has seen many of his colleagues suffering from infections and spreading to their families.

“We are starting to feel depressed because we are not getting vaccines in the Palestinian territories,” he said. “And on the other side of the border, Israel … I think three days ago about 1,600,000 people were vaccinated, and the number of vaccinators here in Palestine is zero.”

Abir Salman contributed to this report.

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