No, Israel Is Not Withholding Coronavirus Vaccines from Palestinians

“Palestinians left waiting as Israel is set to deploy COVID-19 vaccine,” ran the headline of an Associated Press report last month. Not to be outdone, the notoriously anti-Israel newspaper the Guardian carried a story on Sunday under the headline “Palestinians excluded from Israeli COVID vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers.” While it is indeed true that the Jewish state has vaccinated its citizens against the coronavirus at a record rate, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas—like many governments—have not yet begun to do so, framing these facts as an injustice done by Jews to Arabs is misleading to the point of slander. Lahav Harkov explains:

You have to get halfway through the Guardian story before you reach the following: . . . “the [Palestinian] Authority has not officially asked for help from Israel. Coordination between the two sides halted last year after the Palestinian president cut off security ties for several months.” In other words, the Palestinian leadership refused even to talk to Israel when the latter was ordering vaccine doses, let alone coordinate a complex rollout operation.

Here are some other pertinent facts: the Oslo Accords, though a group of interim agreements and not a final-status peace treaty, are widely considered a legally binding agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. They stipulate that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for healthcare, including vaccinations, for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza. The PA has been keeping its end of the bargain on that front for nearly 30 years, something that news outlets whose reporters constantly quote the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry’s reports of damage inflicted by Israel surely already know.

Also a fact: Israel is actually already vaccinating Palestinians—the ones in east Jerusalem. [Moreover], Israel’s vaccine operation has run in predominately Arab areas in Israel from day one.

Why have so many supposedly respectable outlets gotten this story wrong? . . . In this particular case, it looks like some reporters are being led by the nose by activists with a certain point of view.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Coronavirus, Media, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia