The United Nations has called on Israeli occupation government to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.
“Israel has launched a large-scale vaccination campaign for its citizens and residents,” said UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, who replaced Nickolay Mladenov.
“In this context, the UN continues to encourage Israel to help address the priority needs of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to support COVID-19 vaccine availability more generally,” he added.
“This will be critical for the broader efforts of both governments to control the pandemic and is also in line with Israel’s obligations under international law,” Wennesland told the United Nations Security Council, which held its only meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday.
Wennesland said that the “Palestinian government is working to procure a supply of vaccines and anticipates support through the global COVAX-AMC facility. The initial allocations of vaccines to cover priority groups are expected in the first half of 2021.”
Although ‘Israel’ has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout, it has been criticised for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine.
As of 3 January 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 159,034 Palestinians in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, have so far tested positive for coronavirus since the first confirmed case was reported in March 2020.
More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, receive the vaccination in less than two weeks – the highest rate in the world while It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.
‘Israel’ is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as an occupying power.
Under the fourth Geneva Convention, occupying forces are responsible for providing healthcare to the population of the occupied area.
Most states as well as the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, consider ‘Israel’ to be an occupying power.