Palestinians and vaccination

 

Sir, – Mark Weiss tells the story of the successful Israeli vaccine programme, which is indeed good news (World, January 4th). However, it is only half the story; there is no mention of the vaccine situation in occupied Palestine and the consequences of the ongoing Israeli occupation there.

In the West Bank, the vaccination drive includes only those living in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, and not their Palestinian neighbours. A group of ten Palestinian, Israeli and international health and human rights groups have called for Israel to provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian healthcare systems.

Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifically provides that an occupier has the duty of ensuring “the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics”. This duty includes providing support for the purchase and distribution of vaccines to the Palestinian population under its control.

Much like the building of the settlements themselves, the Israeli vaccine programme in occupied Palestine falls short of the standards required by international law. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK COSTELLO TD

(Green Party,

Dublin South Central),

Leinster House,

Dublin 2.