Human Rights Watch calls on Israel to provide Palestinians with COVID-19 vaccine

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Human Rights Watch called on the Israeli authorities to provide vaccines against the Coronavirus to more than 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“While Israel has vaccinated more than 20% of its citizens, including Jewish settlers in the West Bank, it has not committed to vaccinate Palestinians living in the same occupied territories under its military rule,” the organization said in a statement on Sunday morning.

The duties of Israel, under the Fourth Geneva Convention, include ensuring medical supplies and combating the spread of epidemics, which are becoming more urgent after more than 50 years of occupation with no end in sight.

Israel’s responsibilities, in addition to its obligations under international human rights law, include providing vaccines without discrimination to the Palestinians who live under its control, using what it provides to its citizens as a standard, the Human Rights Watch indicated.

The obligations of the Palestinian authorities (PA) to protect the right to health of Palestinians in the areas in which they manage their affairs do not exempt Israel from its responsibilities.

Palestine Director for Human Rights Watch, Omar Shaker, said: “Nothing can justify today’s reality in parts of the West Bank, where some people have been vaccinated, while others are deprived of it, depending on whether they are Jews or Palestinians. Everyone in the same territories should be inoculated fairly, regardless of their ethnic origin. “

“Israeli authorities, until January 14, 2021, have provided doses of the vaccine to more than two million Israelis, giving priority to health workers, groups at risk, and those over the age of 60, as the vast majority of them received doses of the vaccine,” Shaker pointed out.

The Fourth Geneva Convention obliges Israel, as the occupying power, to ensure the provision of medical supplies to the population under occupation, including the adoption and implementation of the necessary preventive measures to combat the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics to the maximum of its means.

This duty increases under prolonged occupation, as does the obligation under customary international law inherent in Article 43 of the Hague Resolutions of 1907 to ensure public order and safety for the citizens under occupation.

The needs of the population under occupation are greater, as the occupier has more time and opportunity to take responsibility for protecting rights.

Shaker added: “The virus does not distinguish between who to infect, but the Israeli government makes a distinction in choosing whoever gets the vaccine.”Source : Safa

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