Israel to start vaccinating Palestinians who work in Israel and West Bank within days, military says

Palestinian Health worker takes samples for Coronavirus at a health center in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on February 16, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — After waves of international pressure and the failure of a plan by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel will start vaccinating Palestinian workers in its official territory and the West Bank within days, its military announced Sunday.

Israel will set up vaccination sites at “crossings between Israel and the West Bank and in industrial zones in Jewish settlements in the West Bank,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Well over 100,000 Palestinians work in Israel and the West Bank.

While Israel has conducted the fastest vaccination program in the world, the country has drawn criticism for not offering to vaccinate Palestinians in occupied territories or giving the Palestinian Authority more of its surplus supply of vaccines. Israel says the P.A. is responsible for citizens in its jurisdiction under the Oslo Accords.

Netanyahu had announced a plan to begin giving a “symbolic” quantity of vaccines to the P.A. and a few other friendly countries last week, but that ran into legal hurdles.