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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Qatar takes aim at Israeli occupation amid calls to avoid ‘politicising’ vaccines

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The senior Qatari official emphasised the importance of multilateralism in fighting COVID-19 while also shedding light on the struggles of Palestinians under the illegal Israeli occupation.

Laws regarding the distribution of medical aid and the coronavirus vaccine worldwide should not be politicised, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Al-Khater said.

The statement, made on Sunday during an international conference in Doha titled “Law in the face of global crises: means and challenges”, confirmed Qatar’s position on the importance of multilateral action and the need for international law to be “representative of the values ​​of humanity, justice and equality”.

“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.

Al Khater then tapped into the struggles faced by Palestinians under illegal Israeli occupation, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This is “like the oppression, violence and deprivation that the Palestinian brothers have been living in under the occupation for decades, in full view of the international community,” she continued.

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 developer Pfizer to supply 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.

This comes as and seeing a surge in daily cases without adequate healthcare.

Read also: Qatar’s FM rules out normalisation with Israel despite GCC reconciliation

According to Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel must establish hospitals and provide health services in the occupied territory “with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics”.

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

On Monday, Palestinian news agency [WAFA] reported that seven people died due to the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and recorded 612 new cases in the West Bank and Gaza.

Up to 600,000 Israeli settlers are illegally living in 256 settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.


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