The Washington Post published a report on Sunday, depicting the grim outlook of inoculation for the Palestinians, whom the Israeli regime — and its allies — have placed under draconian restrictions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a symbolic first shot on Saturday, before the regime began to roll out some four million doses of the just-approved vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech.
“I asked to be vaccinated first, together with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, to serve as personal examples and encourage you to be vaccinated,” Netanyahu told reporters.
However, Palestinians “may have to wait months,” The Post said, adding that the split highlights “the tense disparities between Israel and the Palestinian populations.”
Palestinian leaders have signaled that they could not afford a state-of-the-art vaccination campaign, instead choosing to pin their hopes on an international program that is reviewing potential treatments.
Another problem impeding Palestinians’ access to the already approved vaccines is the technicalities surrounding their use. “The Pfizer serum, for example, must be shipped and stored at minus-94 degrees, a cold chain effectively unavailable in Gaza, where electricity is available only eight hours a day,” The Post wrote.
The territory has been under an all-out Israeli siege and regular military attacks since 2006.
“We just do not have the technical capabilities for that,” said Ali Abd Rabbo, director of the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip. “We have held sessions with the Israeli side in this regard, but until this moment there is no agreement,” he added.
The novel virus emerged in central China late last year. Ever since, it has infected more than 76 million people worldwide, including close to 1.7 million, who have died of it.
In the occupied Palestinian territories with a population of nine million, the virus has so far killed 3,074.
The death toll across Gaza and the West Bank has been reported 1,117, which is still alarmingly high, given the five-million-strong Palestinian population there.
Israel’s vaccination campaign will include Jewish settlers living illegally inside the occupied West Bank, but not the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians.