The Palestinian NGOs Network held a Zoom meeting with a number of diplomatic missions’ representatives as well as international organizations operating in Palestine. The meeting discussed the COVID’s impact and the Israeli occupation authorities’ obligations to provide healthcare under international law and conventions.
During the meeting, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti gave a detailed explanation of the situation happening. The main highlight of that was about the Israeli policy of procrastination and its overall repercussions. Therefore, Dr. Barghouti stressed, the launching of the vaccination campaign by the Palestinian government end of January was vital.
He indicated that death rates are among the highest in the world compared to the population since the Palestinian community is a young society where more than 62% are under 40 years old. From this point of view, according to Barghouti, 14 million vaccines were sent to Israel, 750,000 Israeli settlers received the vaccine, but none of the Palestinians were vaccinated.
Al-Barghouti accused the Israeli authorities of destroying the vaccines due to the expiration of the time available to use it according to the medical protocol stipulated by the World Health Organization, which the Israeli occupation authorities do not do, and that leads to spoilage of the drug and becoming unsuitable for usage, especially in "C" classified areas.
For her part, Suha Jarrar, Al-Haq Foundation for Human Rights, affirmed that international law and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 clearly state the right of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, which in turn guarantees to receive the vaccine from Israel.
The articles of international law, according to Jarrar, are more binding than the ones in the Oslo Accords and require work to provide international protection as in Articles 14, 55, and 56 of the convention where healthcare must be provided. The situation Palestinians are living says otherwise and Israeli polices reflect nothing but international law violations, especially when it comes to prisoners' reality.
About 70% of prisoners received the vaccine after the success of international pressure on the Israeli occupation to provide it, but it was without international supervision, and it raised many questions about the reality of marginalized areas in villages and rural areas and occupied Jerusalem, and its surroundings. This includes workers who the mechanisms of vaccines for them is still unknown. Furthermore, she emphasized that the discrimination policy, and ignoring international agreements, including economic, social, and cultural rights, amount to crimes under international laws standers.
The meeting had started with a welcoming speech by the International Advocacy Coordinator and PNGO's Policy Adviser, Samer Al-Daoudi, in which he valued the participation of diplomatic missions’ representatives and international organizations. He expressed that these meetings portray concerted efforts at the international level to confront this pandemic and its consequences health and economic-wise. Coordination between civil society organizations is one of the most effective ways to confront the virus, said Al-Daoudi.