Israel has conducted a massive drive to vaccinate its population against the COVID-19 virus, a success that has garnered significant international media attention. To counter these positive images of Israel, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have launched a specious and libelous campaign, claiming that Israel has failed to discharge its legal responsibility to provide vaccinations to Palestinians. Moreover, NGOs fault Israel for decisions made by the PA in exercising its responsibility over Palestinian healthcare.

On December 22, 2020, a number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations – including Amnesty International, Adalah, B’Tselem, Al-Mezan, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), and Gisha – issued a declaration headlined “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems.” They argued that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control.” They also asserted that Israel has a responsibility to prevent the passage of Russian-produced COVID-19 vaccines to the PA as long as these are not approved for use in Israel.  This, despite the PA’s own policy based on obtaining this vaccine for its population. Essentially, these NGOs argue that the PA should be stripped of its agency concerning the public health of Palestinians.

In direct contradiction to this narrative, according to media reports, the PA has not sought Israeli assistance in procuring vaccines and has chosen not to cooperate with Israel on this issue. Moreover, the Oslo agreements stipulate that the PA – not Israel – is responsible for administering public health for Palestinians, including vaccinations, stating “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.” Nevertheless, Israeli officials have publicly discussed providing the Palestinians with surplus COVID-19 vaccines, despite being under no obligation to do so.

Additional examples of NGO claims about Israel and Palestinian vaccinations

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Amnesty International

  • On January 5, 2021, Amnesty tweeted, “While Israel celebrates a record-setting vaccination drive, millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control in West Bank & Gaza Strip will receive no vaccine or wait much longer – there could hardly be a better illustration of how Israeli lives are valued above Palestinian.”


(Donors include the European UnionNorwayIrelandItalyFrance, and Spain.)

Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI-I)

(Donors include European Union, GermanyNorwaySwitzerlandDiakonia (Sweden), Medico International (Germany), Bread for the World (Germany),  HEKS-EPER (Switzerland), and UNHCR.)


(Donors include: Ireland (Irish Aid), Finland (Embassy of Finland in Tel Aviv), SwitzerlandRockefeller Brothers FundOpen Society FoundationBroederlijk Delen (Belgium), Trocaire (Ireland), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), and UNDP.)


Terrestrial Jerusalem

(Donors include: Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland)