Israel's Global Lead in Vaccinations Is Missing One Thing: the Population Under Its Military Control

Published January 3rd, 2021 - 10:08 GMT
Israel's Global Lead in Vaccinations Is Missing One Thing: the Population Under Its Military Control
Rising criticism is targeting the country's efforts as it excludes the 5 million Palestinians who live under Israeli military control. (AFP/Al Bawaba)

Less than a month since the world started rolling out COVID19 vaccinations, Israel has been celebrated globally for having the world's highest rate of coverage of its own population, having over 1 million people receiving the jab so far. However, rising criticism is targeting the country's efforts as it excludes the 5 million Palestinians who live under Israeli military control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Providing COVID19 vaccines for 11.55 per 100 citizens, Israel now has the world's lead in vaccination efforts, giving priority to senior citizens and essential workers. Yet, human rights activists and pro-Palestinian voices worldwide are raising questions over Israeli policies providing the vaccine to its citizens while disregarding millions of Palestinians, who live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and near 2 million others who live in the Gaza Strip, where all borders continue to be controlled by Israel.

According to Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth, Israel is obligated to provide health care services to the non-Israeli population under the country's control, just as much it's supposed to do with its own citizens, especially that efforts of the Israeli Health Ministry has reached Israeli settlers in West Bank settlements, but none of the Palestinians under Israeli rule.

Social media users also are pointing fingers at Israel for its role in limiting the Palestinian Authority's access and financial ability to obtain the vaccine, particularly as the PA suffers the consequences of Israel's withholding of its tax revenues for over six months during 2020, which has had a major negative impact on the West Bank's economy, destroying its GDP by at least 12% throughout the year.

Last December, the PA has expected receiving about 4 million doses of the Russian-manufactured vaccine Sputnik V, though still unapproved by the World Health Organization yet.


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