Israel refuses to provide vaccines to the Palestinians: Should we still consider it as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’?
Despite being described as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East, Israel continues to breach international law, especially resolution 242, which demands Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967.
Despite being described as the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel continues to breach international law, especially resolution 242, which demands Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967.
The United Nations and the European Union have condemned Israeli ill-treatment of Palestinians. However, no real change has happened on the ground. Israel announces every week its plan for constructing new settlements. In other words, increasing the number of Jews, while decreasing the number of Palestinians, is the main priority for Israel.
According to Amnesty International (2019), Israel has committed war crimes: the illegal detention of Palestinians, the unlawful killing of innocent civilians and children, and for enforcing its blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this month, the international criminal court stated that it has ‘territorial jurisdiction’ over Israel’s Occupied Territories.
In 2019, the ICC’s Chief prosecutor stated: “There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by Israel.
In response, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli media have relied, as usual, on the Antisemitism card, arguing that these decisions will create hostility towards Judaism.
“When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure anti-Semitism,” said Netanyahu.
The Israelis are well aware that the international condemnation has nothing to do with Antisemitism. Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, are well aware of the difference between Zionism and Judaism. However, as any state that wants to maintain its hegemony and control, Israel relies on Antisemitism and Holocaust excuses to justify its illegal treatment of Palestinians.
Last year, Kamala Harris signed a letter against the ICC decision to probe Israel for war crimes. Similarly, Mr. Biden stated in the late 1990s, that the U.S needs Israel to serve its interests in the Middle East.
Even though Mr Biden is considered a better alternative to the Palestinians, in comparison to Trump, it will be very naive to argue that the current U.S administration can provide a just solution for the Palestinians.
The international community needs Israeli intelligence, support and power to maintain its hegemony over the Middle East.
This week, Israeli occupation forces demolished agricultural facilities in Al-Khadir, with no global media coverage. Palestinian homes and villages are getting destroyed, but Israel is not held accountable.
The world is silent because of the so- called ‘strategic interests’
Israel’s obligation as an occupying power:
Despite having an efficient vaccine system, Israel refuses to help the Palestinians. Israeli officials relied on the Oslo accords terms, claiming that the Palestinian Authority (PA), is the one responsible for health care in the occupied territories.
However, the PA refuted Israeli arguments, referring to other conditions in the Oslo accords which clearly state that both parties should cooperate in fighting epidemics
Similarly, the United Nations has relied on the fourth Geneva convention, urging Israel to meet its international obligation, as an occupying power.
The PA called on the World Health Organization “to hold (Israel) fully responsible for the dangers arising from preventing the entry of vaccines into the Gaza Strip”.
Similarly, Hamas stated that Israel’s refusal to help Palestinians, is considered a breach of international law and the fourth Geneva convention.
Germany agreed to send its vaccine to Israel, knowing that Palestinians will be denied the right for protection. In fact, common interest is the reason why Germany agreed to cooperate with Israel, while neglecting the Palestinians.
“Germany sees Israel as part of Europe in terms of procuring the vaccine and therefore it will be permitted to convey the vaccine for use in Israel when it is approved.” said an Israeli diplomat.
The so- called democratic states that supposedly promote democracy and human rights, should be obliged to help the under privileged Palestinians.
Israel agrees to transfer vaccine to Palestinians after international condemnation
‘The amount is very small’
“Israel’s provision of 5,000 vaccine doses to Palestinian health workers pales in comparison to the nearly 5 million doses it has already provided to Israeli citizens,” Said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch.
Israel is obliged under international law to inoculate the Palestinians.
Corona Virus patients are increasing, and serious action should be taken.
The global pandemic has exposed the grave inequalities between and within the two countries.
The right to vaccination is not a matter of debate.