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EU to support Palestine with 20 million euros for COVID-19 vaccines

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The European Union (EU) has declared its readiness to support Palestine with 20 million euros to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, said that the EU decided in the virtual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of donor countries held yesterday that it is ready to support Palestine with 20 million euros to buy the vaccines.

“At #AHLC meeting today I confirmed #EU continues to stand in firm solidarity with the Palestinians in fight against #COVID19, providing significant support to tackle health emergencies & economic impact. Ready to mobilise additional funding of up to €20m to help with vaccination,” Várhelyi tweeted.

He added, “I encourage Palestinian & Israeli authorities to coordinate in efficient vaccination campaign & welcome initial Israeli donation. #EU will also help boost recovery. We remain a steady partner for UNRWA and count on its good governance+accountability, including in its education programme.”

EU spokesman in Jerusalem Shadi Othman also told WAFA that the money will be available once the technical part of this decision is taken care of.

The first batch of 20,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines, a donation of the United Arab Emirates, has arrived this week in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of about 2 million.

The occupied West Bank is still awaiting its share of the vaccine, which will be either purchased by the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority government or donated through COVAX.

‘Israel’ has been criticised widely for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine while it has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a Zoom speech at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on Monday that Israel has refused to give vaccines to the Palestinians or even allow vaccine shipments from abroad to enter the West Bank and Gaza.

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, ‘Israel’, as an occupying power, is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as the occupying forces are responsible for providing healthcare to the population of the occupied area.

To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2205 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 546 of them in the Gaza strip. 88295 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.

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