Palestine responsible for its own healthcare under Oslo Accords: Israel
Israel has rolled out the fastest COVID-19 vaccination drive in the world. More than a tenth of its population has been immunised. Palestinians living in areas under the Israeli control, however, have not started receiving the doses.
Batches of the approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are being supplied to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but they are only distributed to Jewish settlers, The Guardian reported.
Almost 2.7 million Palestinians living around them won’t be getting the vaccines any time soon.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that two million people will have received a two-dose Covid-19 vaccination by the end of January.
Israel’s vaccine drive began on December 19, with Netanyahu receiving the first shot. Currently, the country has vaccinated the highest number of people per capita.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that 1,224,000 Israelis — around 12% of the country’s population — have received the first dose of the shot.
Israel says the Palestinians are responsible for their own healthcare under the 1990s Oslo peace accords, the NPR reported.
The records are a set of agreements that were brokered by Norway as a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“The Oslo Accords stipulate that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for healthcare, including vaccinations, for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza,” quotes The Jerusalem Post.
Several media outlets have mentioned that Palestinian authorities refused to ask Israel for help.
The Post goes on to say: Israel is actually already vaccinating Palestinians — the ones in east Jerusalem. They are not citizens of Israel, just residents, but their healthcare is under Israel’s purview per the Oslo Accords, and those who are 60 or older or have a chronic condition can be vaccinated in Israeli HMOs in their neighborhoods.
The Palestinian Authority had earlier entered an agreement with the World Health Organization to receive vaccines through COVAX — the international initiative to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 vaccines fairly.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in February, according to Ali Abed Rabbo, the director general of the Palestinian health ministry.
Israel currently has 49,506 active cases and 3,392 deaths from coronavirus. In the West Bank, there are 10,108 active cases and 1,186 deaths, and in Gaza 9,816 active cases and 386 deaths, the Haaretz says.