Vaccination Complications

Israel gave 100 doses of coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority at the beginning of January as a “humanitarian gesture,” The Times of Israel reported. Palestinian officials denied Israel’s report, which refuted the state attorney’s announcement that the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not have any coronavirus vaccines. But the state attorney stated that PA officials requested as many as 10,000 vaccines from the Israeli Health Ministry and from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in early January. The Health Ministry director-general approved the request on January 4, and the vaccines were sent to the PA that same day. Another 100 vaccines are expected to be supplied by January 25 to provide a second dose to those who have been inoculated.

Israel’s legal obligation to the Palestinians is a controversial topic. The 1995 Oslo II Accord holds the PA responsible for its own health care, but it also declares that Israel and the PA must work together to battle epidemics and pandemics. But because Israel has quickly managed to inoculate 20% of its population, some feel that Israel must direct its attention to the Palestinians. 

Israel finds itself in a tight spot here. If it provided an equal amount of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority at the same time its own citizens were receiving them, the nation would be shirking its responsibility to the people most directly under its care, a much greater number than of people than the Palestinians. But if it provided all of its citizens with the vaccine before any Palestinians received treatment, they would be dragged through the mud by the international community. 

Israel is right to be cautious in how they deal with the PA. The PA has not proven trustworthy in the past. It has exploited its people by withholding aid meant for its own citizens in poverty while using the funds to build up its own terrorist organizations. This history raises the concern that the PA would not get the vaccines into the hands of its people. 

Currently there are not nearly enough vaccines in Israel to inoculate the entire population. 

By sending this first shipment, Israel has proven its intention to help the Palestinians and has made it likely that it will send them follow-up shipments. I figure this is probably Israel’s best option with its limited resources. Israel’s willingness to help demonstrates its goodwill even to those who hate Israel.