- Title: Israel launches COVID-19 jabs for Palestinian labourers and settlement workers
- Date: 8th March 2021
- Summary: JERUSALEM (MARCH 8, 2021) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN WORKERS STANDING IN LINE TO BE VACCINATED AT CHECKPOINT LIEUTENANT COLONEL, HEAD OF ISRAELI CIVIL A ADMINISTRATION OFFICE IN BETHLEHEM, TALI AHARON, SPEAKING WITH PALESTINIAN WORKER AHARONCHECKING PALESTINIAN WORKER'S I.D NURSE VACCINATING PALESTINIAN WORKER (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF ISRAELI CIVIL A ADMINISTRATION OFFICE IN BETHLEHEM, TALI AHARON, SAYING: "We did a vaccine operation to vaccine all of the Palestinian workers who work in Israel and I hope that every one of them will come here and get the vaccine as soon as they can. This is our interest and the civil administration unit with the ministry of health are doing a lot of efforts to succeed this operation." NURSE PREPARING VACCINE NURSE VACCINATING PALESTINIAN WORKER (SOUNDBITE) (English) PALESTINIAN WORKER, QAIS GHAITH, SAYING: "We hope others in the West Bank, all of them, take the shots for corona and all of them feel very good. I am right now because I am inside of Israel the government obliged for us to take the shots to make for each other, for all of us to be okay in this country, and I hope for my kids and for my family and for the West Bank all of them takes the shot and will be all of us in a safe way."
- Embargoed: 22nd March 2021 14:30
- Keywords: COVID-19 Israel Palestinians crossing vaccination
- Location: JERUSALEM/ SHAAR EFRAIM, ISRAEL
- City: JERUSALEM/ SHAAR EFRAIM, ISRAEL
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Middle East,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001E382FRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Israel on Monday (March 8) extended its COVID-19 vaccination campaign to Palestinians working in Israel or its West Bank settlements, after facing criticism for not providing more doses to Palestinians in occupied territory.
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have received few vaccine doses to date and lag far behind Israel, which has vaccinated over 40% of its population in one of the world's fastest rollouts.
Amid the disparity, Israeli employers had privately secured doses for thousands of their Palestinian labourers, many of them in construction. On Monday, the government formally extended its program to all 120,000 Palestinians with Israeli work permits.
"We hope others in the West Bank, all of them, (will get) the shots," labourer Qais Ghaith said after receiving his first dose at a military checkpoint near Bethlehem, adding that because he works inside of Israel, "the government obligated (us) to take the shots."
"I hope my kids and my family and for the West Bank, all of them, take the shot (so) all of us (will be) safe," he said.
Around 5,000 Palestinian workers received their first shot on Monday, according to COGAT, a branch of Israel's defence ministry that is co-managing the program.
The West Bank and Gaza, home to a combined 5.2 million Palestinians, have received around 34,700 vaccine doses to date. These came from small donations by Israel and Russia as well as 20,000 sent by the United Arab Emirates to Gaza.
Palestinians have accused Israel of ignoring its duties as an occupying power by not including them in its inoculation program. Rights activists say the workers vaccination campaign does not go far enough.
Israeli officials have said that under the Oslo peace accords, the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, is responsible for vaccinating Palestinians.
(Production: Eli Berlzon, Ismael Khader, Mustafa abu Ganeyeh, Suheir Sheikh)
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