While Israel rolls out one of the world’s fastest vaccination programmes, almost five million Palestinians living under its 53-year military occupation are being left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world and, without fair and comprehensive access to vaccines, is set to become a multi-year crisis.

Overcoming a global pandemic globally requires every nation to do their bit and meet their legal and moral obligations.

The crippling effects of decades of military occupation and, in Gaza, blockade mean the Palestinian health system does not have the financial or material resources needed to sustain its COVID-19 response long-term. Daily life has become even harder, with many families experiencing worsening poverty and food insecurity.

BEFORE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, 68% OF THE POPULATION in Gaza WAS FOOD INSECURE.

According to MAP’s partners in Gaza, rising rates of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity have triggered a surge in childhood malnutrition. A recent survey in Gaza took closer look at the impact of COVID-19, and found that 90% of surveyed households report not having enough food.1

Meanwhile, many Israelis have already received coronavirus vaccinations, including those living in illegal West Bank settlements, but almost no Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

As a group of Israeli, Palestinian and international health and human rights organisations recently highlighted, international humanitarian law clearly establishes that Israel, as an occupying power, is responsible for ensuring Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza can access vaccines where local supplies are insufficient. Unless this duty is upheld, health inequalities between Palestinians and Israelis are set to deepen, and the humanitarian crisis in Palestine threatens to spiral out of control.

The UK and the international community must play their part by demanding fair treatment for Palestinians in accordance with international law.

We, the undersigned, call on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to urgently press Israel to uphold its duty to ensure rapid, equitable and comprehensive access to COVID-19 vaccines for the Palestinian people.

Note: Any personal information you provide when signing this petition will not be made public. It will be printed as part of the petition we deliver to Downing Street in March.

[1] Terre Des Hommes (October 2020) ‘Impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable children and their families in the Gaza Strip’.

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