Israel prefers to throw away its surplus covid vaccines, rather than giving them to Palestinians
While hospitals in the West Bank are at more than 110% of their capacity and 216,000 cases of covid, as well as 2,343 deaths (according to the WHO report published in early March) have been recorded since the start of the epidemic, which translates to a 38% increase in contaminations and 61% in deaths, Israel refuses to give the Palestinians its surplus vaccine doses.
In a scathing article, the Israeli daily Haaretz recently revealed that “hundreds of doses are thrown in the trash every day” in Israel, due to Israelis not showing up for the vaccine.
The vaccination campaign has slowed in recent weeks in Israel and the authorities have a surplus of vaccines that health officials are struggling to dispose of, causing thousands of doses of vaccine to be wasted each week, the daily said.
But there is no question of giving them to the Palestinians.
“With terrorists you must be bad even among the evil. In the Middle East, we have learned that this rule is the key to our success,” said Nir Barkat of Likud.
“It is clear that for Israel, the Palestinians do not deserve our leftover vaccines,” concludes Haaretz with bitter sarcasm: “We will never forgive the Palestinians for forcing us not to vaccinate them.”
As we are told every night at JT, Israel is a “role model” when it comes to immunization, having bought (at a high price) 8 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and 6 million from Moderna. Given that there are approximately six million people over the age of 15 in Israel, the vaccination coverage of the Israeli population who want it is total, according to specialists, according to whom, in the coming months, the surplus of vaccines for an additional six million people are expected to accumulate in Israeli warehouses.
Surplus that would be enough to cover the 2.5 million adult Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (There are many more young people in occupied Palestine than in Israel, hence the discrepancy in the numbers, Editor’s note).
We are therefore in the midst of medical apartheid, but that will probably not deter our favorite commentators from continuing to praise us every day for the “Israeli model”, President Macron for “making love” with the Israeli president without addressing this issue, supposed to be so dear to his heart….
“Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has the obligation to ensure the supply of medical supplies, in particular to fight against the spread of pandemics, to the inhabitants of the territories which have been occupied for more than 50 years”, declared last January, Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“These responsibilities, in addition to its obligations under international humanitarian law, include the provision of vaccines without discrimination to Palestinians living under its control, taking as a benchmark its attitude towards its own citizens,” their statement read.
While some reports suggest that Israeli leaders are fondling the idea of selling the surplus back to the Palestinians, such a step is unlikely to be adopted until the Israeli elections next week.
To date, Israel has given only a few thousand doses of the vaccine to Palestinian frontline caregivers in a “humanitarian” effort and has embarked on a campaign to vaccinate Palestinians working in Israel and therefore in direct contact with Israelis, and this after repeated pressure from international NGOs.
Solidarity between Palestinians
“We have seen the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocket in our community, to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, and we knew things were only going to get worse,” reports Middle East Eye’s, Mohamed Abu Srour, who works in the popular committee in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.
Some COVID-19 patients in the camp became seriously ill and required hospitalization but could not find a hospital or clinic capable of accommodating them, or a ventilator.
“We worked with the Aida Youth Center to collect donations and acquire two respirators, and we assembled a team of nurses, doctors and volunteer medical students from our community to help care for the residents in the camp who caught COVID-19,” he says.
“We don’t have the means and resources to do this work, but we are doing our best,” says Abu Srour, adding that the group has already received dozens of calls from other communities in the West Bank, asking them to share their model. “We have a duty to protect our communities when our ‘leaders’ and occupiers let us down, and that is what we are trying to do,” he concludes.
DISTRIBUTED BY PAJU (PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH UNITY)