Qatar calls on Israel to end ‘vaccine apartheid’

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Qatar’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spokesperson, Lolwah Al Khater, said in a speech on Monday that providing Palestinians in the occupied territories with COVID-19 vaccinations is the responsibility of Israel, which continues to illegally occupy Arab lands. Al Khater added that not fulfilling that responsibility would amount to Israel acting as a “apartheid regime that must be condemned and denounced”.

Laws regarding the distribution of medical aid and the coronavirus vaccine worldwide should not be politicised, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister said in previous discussions during an international conference in Doha entitled “Law in the face of global crises: means and challenges.”

“This cannot be achieved without having a fair international law that respects the right to humanity and a decent life for all peoples, and that if the international law fails to do so, then unfortunately there will be an incomplete law and justice,” she said.

Israel is now practicing what global human rights institutions have slammed as “vaccine apartheid”. Despite global pressure, it has continued to refuse providing Palestinians with vaccines despite signing a deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to supply some eight million doses of the drug.

According to the Institute for Middle East Understanding [IMEU], the doses ordered by Israel are only enough to cover almost half of its population, leaving out millions of Palestinians living under occupation.

Recently, Israel briefly succumbed to global pressure and agreed to provide just 5,000 vaccines to Palestinian frontline medical workers.

Speaking of occupation and and its threat to the Arab world, Al Khater discussed the critical challenges facing neighbouring states and jeopardising international peace and security.

The senior Qatari official’s comments came during her speech at the high-level segment of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 22, where the she expressed Qatar’s condemnation and rejection of the continuous violations and violent discriminatory actions committed by the occupation authorities against the Palestinian people.

Read also: Palestine’s Haniyeh calls on Qatar to monitor elections

The Palestinian issue was addressed as Qatar continues to contribute to international efforts to address the pandemic through providing support to disadvantaged countries and concerned international organisations which fall under the COVID-19 combat strategy being pursued by the Qatari government.

“The State of Qatar also renews its condemnation of the continued unjust siege imposed by Israel on two million Palestinians in Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to take all necessary measures to end this illegal siege and protect the brotherly Palestinian people,” the Qatar News Agency reported.

The Assistant Foreign Minister stressed that “the occupation authorities must realise that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace can only be achieved by ending the occupation and establishing the State of Palestine on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.”

 

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