Amnesty condemns Israel for not supplying vaccines to PA residents who aren’t its responsibility

Amnesty International irrationally demands Israel supply Covid vaccines to Palestinians who are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is expecting delivery of 4 million doses of the Russian coronavirus vaccine, but that did not stop human rights organizations from launching a false information campaign on Tuesday accusing Israel of withholding vaccines from the PA, which is neither under its jurisdiction, nor its responsibility.

Israel has been heralded for its ‘light-speed’ rollout of its vaccination program, including to its Arab citizens. Rather than send a congratulatory note, Amnesty International has chosen to bludgeon Israel with its own success, blaming it for the failure of the PA to inoculate its own population.

Amnesty International tweeted: “While Israel celebrates a record-setting vaccination drive, millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control in West Bank & Gaza Strip will receive no vaccine or wait much longer – there could hardly be a better illustration of how Israeli lives are valued above Palestinian.”

Amnesty ignored the widely reported fact that the PA did not want Israeli assistance with the vaccine. A PA Ministry of Health official told The Jerusalem Post in late December: “We are working on our own to obtain the vaccine from a number of sources… We are not a department in the Israeli Defense Ministry. We have our own government and Ministry of Health, and they are making huge efforts to get the vaccine.”

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, the PA has since the 1990s maintained responsibility for health services of the Palestinian population.

Neither did Amnesty appear to have checked with the PA before tweeting its statement, either unaware or ignoring the fact that a month ago the PA announced it was expecting 4 million doses of the Russian vaccine and was negotiating on its own for additional vaccines from other suppliers.

“Minister of Health Mai Alkaila confirmed that the vaccine should arrive in Palestine by early next year and said that Palestine is in touch with Russia, Moderna and AstraZeneca,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Dec. 12, adding that the Palestinians were not interested in the Pfizer vaccine currently being distributed in Israel because like many other locations in the world, they did not have the deep freezers needed to store the doses.

The widely publicized Palestinian plans also had no effect on Kenneth Roth, director of the group Human Rights Watch, which is known for its long-running campaign to have Israel kicked out of FIFA, the world soccer federation.

“Someone doesn’t want you to know about Israel’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in distributing the Covid vaccine,” Roth tweeted Sunday, following with more tweets claiming that “as the occupying power it has not vaccinated a single Palestinian.”

Israel has plans to vaccinate all its 9.3 million citizens no matter what their ethnicity, and the current program of vaccinating those aged 60 and above is being given an additional impetus by the government to focus on Israel’s Arab communities, who make up roughly 20% of the population.

Amnesty and HRW have gained a reputation for hostility toward Israel, constantly issuing reports condemning Israeli actions while downplaying or ignoring Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and Palestinian human rights abuses against their own populations.

Amnesty was criticized last year when one of its former employees helped turn in a peace activist to Hamas for the ‘crime’ of talking peace with Israelis on a Zoom call at the start of the pandemic.

Although Amnesty then called for his release, Journalist Rami Aman was held in a Hamas jail for six months and convicted of “weakening revolutionary spirit” before being released. There is no record of any action taken against the former Amnesty employee, Hind Khoudray, who turned Aman into Hamas.