Middle East

Israeli health minister says not country’s job to give vaccine to Palestinians in occupied territory

Israel’s health minister has claimed it is not the country’s job to provide the coronavirus vaccine to Palestinians living in occupied territories, despite calls from the UN to do so.

Yuli Edelstein said while Israel had an “interest” in vaccinating Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, it was under no “legal obligation” to provide jabs.

“As far as vaccination is concerned I think it is Israel’s obligation first and foremost to its citizens,” he told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. “They pay taxes for that, don’t they?”

“But having said that I do remember that it is our interest – not our legal obligation but our interest – to make sure Palestinians get the vaccine, that we don’t have Covid-19 spreading,” he added.

While Israel has given jabs to Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, none of the nearly 5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, where impoverished healthcare systems are under strain due to the soaring caseload during the pandemic, have been offered vaccinations.

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