Israeli news site of Walla reported on Sunday that ‘Israel’ is expected to approve in the coming days a request submitted by the Palestinian Authority for the transfer of tens of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Chief of General Staff of IOF Aviv Kochavi and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz are expected to approve the request submitted by PA.
PA officials have contacted Israeli security and NSC officials for approval and assistance in transferring the packages they have purchased or received, and they will most likely receive a positive response, Walla reported.
“Israel has approved and assisted in the various waves of the corona to transfer medical equipment to hospitals in the Gaza Strip,” senior officers familiar with the details of the operation told Walla. They added that “corona vaccines are no different from regular medicine or flu vaccines.”
Last month, ‘Israel’ agreed to transfer only 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers.
To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2125 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 535 in Gaza strip. More than 50,000 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.
As ‘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.
More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, received the vaccination in less than two weeks– the highest rate in the world – while it excluded the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.
The Israeli minister of health has said that 3.8 million Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19, 2.5 million of whom were vaccinated with the first and second doses.
‘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.
The UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights organizations have called on ‘Israel’ to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.
“The Israeli government 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,” said Amnesty International.
“These responsibilities, alongside its obligations under international human rights law, include providing vaccines in a nondiscriminatory manner to Palestinians living under its control, using as a benchmark what it provides for its own citizens. The Palestinian authorities’ own obligations to protect the right to health of Palestinians in areas where they manage affairs do not absolve Israel of its responsibilities,” said HRW.
Israeli media said that the expected approval coincides with a petition filed with the Israeli High Court of Justice by the family of Hadar Goldin, demanding ‘Israel’ not transmit vaccines to Gaza until the bodies of two Israeli soldiers and two living Israeli civilians who are held by Hamas are returned.