A Sky News article by their Middle East correspondent Mark Stone (“COVID-19: New West Bank lockdown as Palestinians face surge of coronavirus cases”, Feb. 28)
Israeli officials have constantly said that Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank and all of Gaza, are responsible for their own health system under agreements made in the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s.
However, an annex of the Oslo Accords, which were only meant to be a temporary route to full Palestinian statehood, also calls for co-operation to combat epidemics.
A Sky News video embeded in the article (which aired six weeks ago) includes the same claim about Oslo being designed as a temporary route to full Palestinian statehood. However, this is untrue. Whilst Oslo vaguely called for a final status agreement, it never called for the creation of a Palestinian state. Indeed, Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the Accords, firmly opposed any final outcome that included full Palestinian statehood.
As Martin Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, made clear in a piece for the Atlantic marking the 25th anniversary of the agreements, the Oslo Accords “did not provide for a Palestinian state.” He also re-emphasized, CAMERA has previously noted, that the two-state solution is “a concept that is nowhere mentioned in the Oslo Accords.” Even anti-Israel historian Avi Shlaim acknowledged, in a Guardian op-ed, that the Accords “did not promise or even mention an independent Palestinian state at the end of the transition period,”
CAMERA UK has prompted corrections at the Financial Times and the Daily Mail to this same common misconception about Oslo, and our CAMERA colleagues have done the same at the NY Times and MSNBC.
The error is an important one in the context of the Sky article, because it serves to undermine Israel’s reference to the Oslo Accords as a legal codification of the PA’s responsibility to provide vaccines for Palestinians.
We’ve been in communication with the Sky journalist and have asked for a correction.
Here is the text of the OSLO Annex on health matters, referring to epidemics. Cooperation does not mean Israel shall stand in place of the Palestinians in combating epidemics among their population.
1. Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.
6. Israel and the Palestinian side shall exchange information regarding epidemics and
contagious diseases, shall cooperate in combating them and shall develop methods for
exchange of medical files and documents.