Vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 have started in many countries. In Israel, which began vaccinating its population on December 19, the government has asked the prison administration not to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners, Courrier International reports.
At the start of the vaccination campaign, the Israeli Ministry of Health had chosen to vaccinate in order of priority: first nursing staff and vulnerable people, then particularly exposed individuals such as teachers, prison staff and all prisoners.
“Vaccinate some prisoners and not others”
But on December 26, the Minister of Public Security, Amir Ohana, asked the prison administration – which continues to vaccinate other detainees – to wait before administering the dose to Palestinian prisoners.
The center-left Israeli newspaper Haaretz wonders “under what authority [le ministre] can order the prison services to vaccinate some prisoners and not others ”. Some NGOs have stepped up to the plate, such as Adalah, a human rights organization specializing in the representation of Arab minorities in Israel.
5,000 Palestinian prisoners
The NGO sent a letter to the Israeli Ministry of Health asking it to stop “undermining the health and human rights of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli facilities”. The organization recalls that this is a “violation of the health and medical rights of prisoners” and that it “violates the instructions of the Israeli Ministry of Health as well as medical ethics which guarantee the equality of treatment for all ”.
There are around 5,000 Palestinians locked up in Israeli prisons, 140 of whom have contracted Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Palestinian Wafa news agency. A drop of water for the 9 million inhabitants of Israel and the 300,000 people already vaccinated against the virus.