Health

Palestinians wait as Israel debates permission of Covid-19 vaccines for Gaza

Jerusalem, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continued Tuesday to wait for the arrival of the first Covid-19 vaccines from the West Bank, as Israel is yet to authorize permission for the shipment to enter the coastal enclave.

Israeli security officials told Efe that the National Security Council, a body that belongs to the Israeli prime minister’s office, had not made a decision on the request made Monday by the Palestinian Authority to send 2,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to Gaza.

In a statement to Efe, spokesman for the Islamist Hamas movement Hazem Qassem denounced the delay made by Israel and called it “a real crime that blatantly contradicts international laws and humanitarian norms.”

Israeli NGOs accused Israel of failing to comply with its legal obligations after the vaccine delivery has been delayed.

Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement told Efe that Israel has not only blocked the transfer of a small batch of vaccines but also continues to renege on its legal and moral obligation to ensure the vaccine is available to all people living under its control.

Meanwhile, Israeli lawmakers argued the transfer should be made in exchange of releasing two captured Israeli civilians and the remains of two soldiers killed in the 2014 war in Gaza, ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Gaza has recorded 55,000 coronavirus cases so far, with 538 deaths. EFE-EPA

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