Palestinian PM appeals to international community for vaccines

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh is appealing to the international community to deliver promised vaccines against COVID-19.

His office says the prime minister yesterday urged friendly countries and companies, as well as the World Health Organization, to “fulfill their obligations to us.”

Shtayyeh says UN deliveries expected this month through COVAX, the WHO-backed program to assist poorer nations, are now delayed.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 9, 2020. (Abbas Momani/Pool Photo via AP)

The virus has surged through the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel has come under significant international criticism for giving its own population vaccines without doing the same for Palestinians. This week, the government began vaccinating Palestinian laborers who work in Israel.

However, that effort will only vaccinate a small percentage of the roughly 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel says under past peace accords, it is not responsible for vaccinating the Palestinian populations in those areas. Human rights groups say Israel remains an occupying power with an obligation to assist the Palestinians.