The Dec. 21st print edition of the The Times included the following short article suggesting that Israel was shirking its responsibility to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians:
First, as our CAMERA colleague Tamar Sternthal posted in response to an AP article titled “Palestinians left waiting as Israel is set to deploy vaccine”, the the Oslo Accords clearly stipulate that Palestinian leaders — not Israel — are responsible for the health care, including vaccines, of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
Though, however, COVID-related cooperation between Jerusalem and Ramallah is of course still important, it’s been reported that efforts to coordinate between Israeli and Palestinian authorities on procuring vaccines for Palestinians was stymied by the PA’s decision to cut off all coordination with Israel.
Further, as the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday, Palestinian officials “haven’t approached Israel for help in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines” and said “they are planning to purchase them on their own with the help of the international community”. The article went on to report that a senior PA Ministry of Health official said that the “Palestinians do not expect Israel to sell them, or purchase on their behalf, the vaccine from any country”, and that the PA will soon receive millions of COVID-19 vaccines from the US, UK, China and Russia.
To recap our rebuttal to the Times narrative that, though Israeli is planning on vaccinating 60,000 Israelis a day, Palestinians in the West Bank won’t be included in their program:
- The PA Ministry of Health is responsible, by virtue of the Oslo Accords, for health care, including vaccinations, in the West Bank and Gaza.
- The PA hasn’t approached Israel for help in obtaining COVID vaccines, and their officials have stated that they don’t expect help from Jerusalem.
- The PA claims to have acquired enough for their population from foreign countries.
- Efforts to coordinate Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on procuring vaccines for Palestinians was damaged by the Palestinian decision to cut off all coordination with Israel.
So, the implicit premise of the Times sentence we highlighted, suggesting that though Israel is responsible for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians, they are not fulfilling this obligation, is clearly erroneous.
Finally, the broader narrative evoked in the short piece, suggesting that Palestinians don’t possess agency and that every bad social or economic outcome in the Palestinian territories is Israel’s fault, is, as we’ve demonsrated, a common thread that inspires much of the biased coverage of Israel in the British media.