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.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

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

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict