I.Israel will give the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah around one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the expiration date of which is about to expire. In return, Israel will then receive the next delivery scheduled by Pfizer to the Palestinians. This was announced by the office of the new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett together with the Ministry of Health and Defense on Friday. The decision was made because the vaccine stocks in Israel meet the entire needs of the country.
Foreign Minister Jair Lapid spoke of 1.2 million doses of vaccine in Ramallah. “We will continue to find ways of cooperation for the benefit of the peoples in the region,” tweeted Lapid. The new government, sworn in on Sunday, is therefore relying on rapid steps towards rapprochement. The United States has reportedly been pushing Israel to deliver vaccines to the Palestinians for weeks.
According to the newspaper “Haaretz”, the decision goes back to the instigation of the new health minister Nitzan Horowitz from the left-liberal Meretz party, who had demanded a swift conclusion. However, the previous government had already started negotiations on the delivery, but did not complete them.
Infection numbers are falling in Palestinian territories
Earlier this week, the Jerusalem Supreme Court also heard a petition from several human rights organizations calling for the Palestinians to be vaccinated. Human rights activists criticize Israel for having barely shared vaccines with the Palestinians despite one of the most successful vaccination campaigns among its own population, even though they live in the West Bank under direct Israeli occupation, where Israeli settlers were of course vaccinated. However, weeks ago Israel vaccinated around 100,000 Palestinian workers who work for Israelis.
The human rights activists refer to Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under the Geneva Convention to provide medical care to a population under military occupation. Israel, on the other hand, referred to the Interim Agreement of Oslo from the 1990s, according to which the Palestinian leadership is responsible for the health care of its own population. Nevertheless, cooperation in this field is also called for in the interim agreements.
In Israel, more than sixty percent of the population and around 85 percent of the adult population, which includes around twenty percent Arab-Palestinian residents. This week, Israel had largely ended its corona measures in the country with the lifting of the mask requirement in closed public spaces. The green pass is also no longer used.
On the Palestinian side, on the other hand, of the total of around three million Palestinians in the West Bank, just under four hundred thousand (including workers vaccinated by Israel) and around 50,000 people of around two million people in Gaza have been vaccinated with at least one dose. The number of infections has recently also dropped sharply in the Palestinian territories. An official Palestinian confirmation of the deal was initially pending.