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Covid-19: Why are Palestinians behind in vaccine efforts? Covid-19: Palestinians lag behind in vaccine efforts as infections rise
(4 days later)
Covid-19: Vaccine divides in the Middle EastCovid-19: Vaccine divides in the Middle East
Israel, which has the highest rate of Covid-19 vaccination per person in the world, has started vaccinating Palestinians who go to work there. The Palestinian authorities have imposed new coronavirus restrictions in the West Bank for the next five days after a sharp rise in infections there.
But what about vaccinations for other Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza - regarded as occupied territories by the international community? The Palestinian territories have only recently started receiving supplies of vaccines, while Israel has surged ahead with its vaccination programme.
Who is Israel vaccinating?Who is Israel vaccinating?
Israel leads the world in terms of the number of doses per head of population, with 101 doses given out for every 100 people. Israel is the leading nation globally for the number of doses per head of population, with more than 108 doses given out for every 100 people.
The country started easing lockdown restrictions in February as studies showed the effectiveness of its vaccination campaign in preventing hospitalisations and deaths. Israel started easing lockdown restrictions in February as studies showed the effectiveness of its vaccination campaign in preventing hospitalisations and deaths.
It has now begun vaccinating Palestinians who work in Israel or in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It recently began vaccinating Palestinians who come to work in Israel or in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
There are around 133,000, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, with many crossing over to Israel from the West Bank on a daily basis. There are around 133,000 workers, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, with many crossing over to Israel from the West Bank on a daily basis.
In occupied East Jerusalem, all Palestinians are entitled to be vaccinated by Israel, as are medics working at the six Palestinian hospitals there - many of whom come from other parts of the West Bank and Gaza.In occupied East Jerusalem, all Palestinians are entitled to be vaccinated by Israel, as are medics working at the six Palestinian hospitals there - many of whom come from other parts of the West Bank and Gaza.
Palestinians in East Jerusalem have Israeli residency status - so those living there pay Israeli taxes and have access to Israeli health insurance.Palestinians in East Jerusalem have Israeli residency status - so those living there pay Israeli taxes and have access to Israeli health insurance.
What's happening in other Palestinian areas?What's happening in other Palestinian areas?
The pace of vaccinations in the West Bank and Gaza - home to an estimated five million people - has been far slower. In the West Bank and Gaza - home to an estimated five million people and regarded as occupied territories by the international community - the vaccination programme has barely got going.
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that there have been more than 224,900 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than than 2,380 deaths among Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. New restrictions have been imposed across the West Bank due to rising infections
Since early February there has been a sharp rise in infections and a five-day lockdown has been imposed across the West Bank from 15 March.
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that there have so far been more than 236,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than than 2,500 deaths among Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The case fatality rate for these areas is 1.1% - that's the proportion of reported infections which result in a person dying. In Israel, it is 0.7%, according to the WHO.The case fatality rate for these areas is 1.1% - that's the proportion of reported infections which result in a person dying. In Israel, it is 0.7%, according to the WHO.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health - which operates in the West Bank - says it has deals with four companies that will provide enough vaccines for 70% of its people.The Palestinian Ministry of Health - which operates in the West Bank - says it has deals with four companies that will provide enough vaccines for 70% of its people.
A delivery of 10,000 doses of Russian-made vaccine has arrived, 2,000 of which have been sent on to Gaza.A delivery of 10,000 doses of Russian-made vaccine has arrived, 2,000 of which have been sent on to Gaza.
Gaza has also received 20,000 Russian vaccine doses donated by the UAE.Gaza has also received 20,000 Russian vaccine doses donated by the UAE.
Getting vaccines to Gaza is faced with the logistical challenges of the restrictions imposed on the area, which has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since the militant Islamist movement Hamas took charge there in 2007.Getting vaccines to Gaza is faced with the logistical challenges of the restrictions imposed on the area, which has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since the militant Islamist movement Hamas took charge there in 2007.
A report by the World Bank says that the Palestinians will need more financial and logistical help in order to cover 60% of the population.A report by the World Bank says that the Palestinians will need more financial and logistical help in order to cover 60% of the population.
It has urged Israel to consider donating extra doses it has ordered but does not need to the Palestinians.It has urged Israel to consider donating extra doses it has ordered but does not need to the Palestinians.
Israel says it is giving 5,000 doses to the Palestinians, two thousand of which have been delivered to the West Bank so far.Israel says it is giving 5,000 doses to the Palestinians, two thousand of which have been delivered to the West Bank so far.
What about vaccines from the Covax scheme?What about vaccines from the Covax scheme?
The international Covax scheme, backed by the WHO, should cover up to 20% of vaccine requirements for the Palestinians.The international Covax scheme, backed by the WHO, should cover up to 20% of vaccine requirements for the Palestinians.
The global plan to share Covid-19 vaccines fairlyThe global plan to share Covid-19 vaccines fairly
This is a global effort to get vaccines to poorer countries, which may not be able to secure enough supplies on their own.This is a global effort to get vaccines to poorer countries, which may not be able to secure enough supplies on their own.
Covax has said that the West Bank and Gaza would get an initial 240,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, and 37,440 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but these have not yet arrived.Covax has said that the West Bank and Gaza would get an initial 240,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, and 37,440 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but these have not yet arrived.
Whose responsibility is it to vaccinate Palestinians?Whose responsibility is it to vaccinate Palestinians?
The United Nations (UN) human rights body has released a statement saying it's Israel's responsibility to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.The United Nations (UN) human rights body has released a statement saying it's Israel's responsibility to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The body says differential access is "morally and legally" unacceptable under international law laid out in the Geneva Conventions on the regulation of occupied territories.The body says differential access is "morally and legally" unacceptable under international law laid out in the Geneva Conventions on the regulation of occupied territories.
But Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein, told the BBC: "We can also look into the so-called Oslo agreements where it says loud and clear that the Palestinians have to take care of their own health."But Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein, told the BBC: "We can also look into the so-called Oslo agreements where it says loud and clear that the Palestinians have to take care of their own health."
The Oslo accords - which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation - give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.The Oslo accords - which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation - give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.
But the Palestinian authorities point to another part of those accords which says: "Israel and the Palestinian side shall exchange information regarding epidemics and contagious diseases, shall co-operate in combating them and shall develop methods for [the] exchange of medical files and documents."But the Palestinian authorities point to another part of those accords which says: "Israel and the Palestinian side shall exchange information regarding epidemics and contagious diseases, shall co-operate in combating them and shall develop methods for [the] exchange of medical files and documents."
The Oslo accords, agreed in 1993 and 1995, set out how parts of the West Bank and Gaza would be governed under an interim framework until a permanent peace settlement can be reached.The Oslo accords, agreed in 1993 and 1995, set out how parts of the West Bank and Gaza would be governed under an interim framework until a permanent peace settlement can be reached.
Israel's borders explained in mapsIsrael's borders explained in maps
But UN experts say international law takes priority over these accords.But UN experts say international law takes priority over these accords.
They say - despite Israel's position on the issue - the Fourth Geneva Convention is specific about the duty of the occupying power to provide healthcare.They say - despite Israel's position on the issue - the Fourth Geneva Convention is specific about the duty of the occupying power to provide healthcare.