MOFA: Israel, the occupying power, legally obligated to provide COVID vaccine

PNN/ Ramallah/

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in a statement reaffirmed that Israel, as an occupying Power, has clear legal and human rights obligations towards the Palestinian people, including vis-à-vis providing vaccinations for COVID-19.

“As the illegal occupant of the State of Palestine, Israel has absolute and full control over all the crossings and borders as well as airspace of the State of Palestine,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that Israel controls the entry and exit of all persons and goods, including medical supplies, entering the State of Palestine. “Israel also obstructs and curtails the functioning of the Palestinian government in so-called Area C as well as in the occupied capital, Jerusalem.”

“In this connection, and without abdicating in any way the responsibilities of the State of Palestine towards the Palestinian people, including providing healthcare and COVID vaccinations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate affirms that Israel still bears clear legal obligations towards the welfare of the Palestinian population under its illegal occupation. Such obligations are clearly spelled out under international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law. The derogation of these responsibilities in no way diminishes from their standing and relevance,” statement added.

Furthermore, the ministry said that Israel, the occupying power, has clearly employed racially-motivated discriminatory actions against Palestinians under their full control.

“This includes the directives of the Israeli Minister of Interior to the Israel Prison Authority barring the inoculation of Palestinians imprisoned unlawfully inside Israel despite the fact that dozens of Palestinian prisoners have contracted COVID-19 while in Israeli custody due to inexcusable negligence, including one who died from COVID complications.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, the occupying power has escalated its illegal actions against the Palestinian people, including record-breaking home demolitions and evictions, as well as the continued policy of arbitrary mass incarcerations. Rather than respect its legal obligations towards the Palestinian people, Israel has taken clear actions to make their lives more unbearable and to increase the health risk vulnerable communities face.

The ministry concluded by saying that ending Israel’s illegal and prolonged occupation is the shortest and most expedient way to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, including those borne out of the pandemic. In the meantime, the international community must not absolve Israel from its international responsibilities and obligations.