STATEMENT: Minister Coveney must fund Covid-19 vaccine for Palestinians

Image: Credit

Green Party Spokesperson for Justice and TD for Dublin South Central, Deputy Patrick Costello, has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to fund vaccines for the Palestinian people in light of the news that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are to be excluded from the Israeli Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Costello said: “Although Israel is being praised for its fast rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with over 12% of the population already vaccinated, latest reports state they are only being distributed to Jewish settlers and not the roughly 2.7 million Palestinians who may now have to wait for months to be vaccinated.

“Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the Head of the World Health Organisation Office in Jerusalem, has stated it could be “early to mid-2021” before vaccines on the Covax scheme are available for distribution in Palestinian territories.

“Giving the vaccine to settlements is a flagrant breach of international law. It is a reflection of annexation and an abdication of responsibilities under the Geneva Convention towards an occupied population which requires the occupying force to take ‘preventive measures to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics’. 

Deputy Neasa Hourigan, Green Party Spokesperson for Health, said: “Israel is legally obliged by international law to provide for the healthcare of Palestinian people but we now know that that is not happening. We have been repeatedly told that we are all in this pandemic together and that Covid-19 does not discriminate. If Palestinians are excluded from the vaccine rollout, this will most certainly not be the case. It’s an incredibly worrying situation.

Deputy Costello continued: “I have written to Minister Coveney, along with my Green Party colleague Deputy Hourigan, urging him to fund vaccines for Palestinian people in order to ensure that they are included in the vaccine rollout. We cannot sit idly by and watch as a whole cohort of people are excluded from a vaccination that saves lives in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”