Israel Blamed for Palestinian Vaccination Delay

As reported by the BBC at the weekend, Israel has taken the lead in terms of the percentage of its population that have now been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Its rate of 11.55 vaccinations per 100 people, was well ahead of Bahrain in second place at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47 (according to data from Our World in Data, a collaboration between Oxford University and an educational charity).

But in terms of simple numbers vaccinated, Israel lay in third place behind China and the USA.

Cumulative vaccinations by countryCumulative vaccinations by country (source: Our World in Data)

By the morning of 4th January, the Israelis were reporting a total 1,224,000 people having received their first dose of vaccine, bringing the total to more than 13 percent of the population.

That was partly because they have pressed on quickly with using the doses supplied and may soon have to pause their programme until further supplies are received.

This speed of inoculation is considered a success, but the country still has a problem with increasing infections and deaths.

Sadly, anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again within this situation. Social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers are reported to be spreading the rumour that the Israelis are deliberately leaving Palestinians to struggle with the virus.

And it is not just social media involved. Major publications are joining with accusations that the vaccine suppliers are favouring the Israelis above other nations. An Associated Press article, echoed by other outlets, reported that Israel would roll out their vaccination campaign whilst millions of Palestinians would have to wait much longer.

And the Guardian also accused Israel of sending batches of vaccine to Jewish communities in the West Bank, whilst ignoring the Palestinians living around them. But what that article does not explain until halfway through is that the Palestinians halted co-operation with the Israelis last year. And despite the delay in receiving doses of vaccine, the Palestinian Authority has not asked for help from Israel.

So once again, people with influence are choosing to blame Israel, when a substantial fault lies with the Palestinians’ own leaders.

UPDATE 5th January 2021

And now the Board of Deputies’ senior vice president, Sheila Gewolb, has taken the Observer to task for giving ammunition to anti-Semites with a headline that is “blatantly false”.

The Observer’s article appeared on Sunday morning titled: ‘Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers.’

Dr Gewolb stated the allegation that Israel ‘excluded’ Palestinians is false because vaccinating Palestinians is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in both the West Bank and Gaza.

The PA has not asked Israel for help with this and is known to be sourcing vaccines elsewhere.