The deal to include Israel in the EU vaccination deal programme will come as no surprise to many Palestinians.
According to recent reports in the Israeli media, Germany has promised to include the country in the EU’s coronavirus vaccination deal that is being made with large pharmaceutical companies.
The pledge was made by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Health Minister Jens Spahn to Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi as a continuation of the country’s “special relationship” because of the Holocaust.
Germany – widely considered in the EU as a strict enforcer of the bloc’s rules – apparently bent the rules this time to ensure that an EU-produced vaccine would first be given to European countries and Israel.
The Palestinian territory of Gaza, however, may not be so lucky. The virus in Israeli blockaded land which is also densely populated has reached a “catastrophic stage.”
Gaza was already suffering from a shortage of medical equipment after more than a decade of a deadly Israeli siege leaving hospitals without vital equipment needed to cope with a pandemic.
Pleas by Palestinian doctors in Gaza that the health system could collapse, have largely gone unheard and the Berlin-Tel Aviv deal only underscores that which makes no mention of Palestinians.
There have been no commitments made by Germany towards the Palestinians who are currently under an Israeli occupation which has its own historical reasons that can be closely linked to Germany’s actions.
Following the Holocaust at the hands of Nazi Germany, which systematically killed eleven million people, six million of whom were Jews and the rest being Poles, Roma, Slavic people and other political dissidents, Germany has often sought to help Israel.
In 2015, Germany sold Israel four warships at a significant discount as part of what it considers an atonement.
An Israeli diplomat in Berlin said following the announcement: “Germany sees Israel as part of Europe in terms of procuring the vaccine and therefore it will be permitted to convey the vaccine for use in Israel when it is approved.”
Israel has seen more than 337,000 thousand coronavirus cases and almost 3,000 deaths to date. Palestinians, on the other hand, have seen coronavirus infections approach the 100,000 mark and more than 770 dead.
In August of this year, the EU signed a deal with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to supply it with 400 million vaccines from which now Israel will also be able to purchase stock.
Palestinians, however, to date will have to likely wait once there is a more general rollout of the vaccine.
Israel’s foreign minister said that Israel’s early access to the vaccine would “allow the economy to return to full activity in Israel.”
More than 80 percent of Covid-19 vaccines have been bought by richer countries like the United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union, who have already pre-ordered much of the initial supply of the vaccine, leaving poorer countries potentially waiting years for it to reach them.