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Israel to vaccinate Palestinians working in settlements

March 1, 2021 at 3:45 pm

A health worker shows glass bottle with Covid 19 vaccine on December 23, 2020 [Nir Keidar/Anadolu Agency]

Israel will provide coronavirus vaccinations for 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel or in its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel will start administering the Moderna vaccines in the coming days at crossings and in industrial zones throughout the occupied West Bank.

“During the coming days, a vaccination campaign will begin for Palestinian workers employed in Israel, and in the communities across Judea and Samaria,” the Office of the  Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced yesterday in reference to the occupied West Bank.

It added that the vaccinations were being offered “as part of the efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19” and “in order to maintain public health and the functioning of the economy”.

This comes after Israel donated just 2,000 vaccines to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to inoculate front-line medical workers in the West Bank and has come under criticism for not supplying more vaccines to the Palestinians under its occupation.

Israel keeps blocking Palestinians from having the covid vaccine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Israel keeps blocking Palestinians from having the covid vaccine – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

It argues that under interim peace accords the PA is responsible for vaccinations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Shaher Saad, secretary-general of the Palestinian Workers’ Union, said thousands of Palestinians who work in the Israeli services and industrial sectors had already been vaccinated privately by their employers in Israel.

The World Bank said in a report last week that the Palestinian territories have one of the lowest testing rates in the Middle East and North Africa and that the rate of positive tests in the West Bank is over 21 per cent and in 29 per cent in the Gaza Strip, indicating an uncontrolled spread of the pandemic.

The PA also expects to receive an initial COVAX shipment within weeks and says it has supply deals with Russia and drugmaker AstraZeneca, although doses have been slow to come.

The West Bank, where 3.1 million Palestinians live, has reported a total of 118,519 coronavirus cases and 1,406 deaths.

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