Zionism has opened up another front in its genocidal war of attrition against the Palestinians, deliberately withholding the Covid vaccine from Palestinians living on the West Bank and Gaza. This effectively weaponises the virus, adding biological warfare to Israel’s arsenal of oppression.
By its refusal to offer vaccination to Palestinians, Israel is openly flouting international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to “import the necessary medical supplies, including medicaments, vaccines, and sera, when the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate” (Israel’s failure to inoculate Palestinians against Covid should be considered a war crime under international law, RT, 27 January 2021).
Israel pretends that it is not an occupying power but this contradicts both the UN’s view and the reality on the ground. Gaza is under permanent blockade by Israel, controlling its borders. And anyone doubting that the West Bank is under occupation should take note the escalating number of illegal Israeli settlements there, with the government authorising over 12,000 new settlement homes last year alone. By the cruel logic of Tel Aviv’s apartheid system, the 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank are getting the vaccine while their Palestinian neighbours are not.
Recent reports suggest that the government is thinking of amending its policy so that Palestinians working in Israel could get the vaccine, presumably to reduce the chances of them infecting their employers. The Israeli Red Cross vaccinated just 400 Palestinians near the main checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank in what was billed initially as a one-day event though it seems possible that this may be repeated. It would seem that this small-scale, grudging concession is more about protecting Israelis from infection than about saving Palestinian lives.
Meanwhile the vast mass of the Palestinians remain unvaccinated, yet another unpunished war crime committed by Zionism.