[Webinar] “Medical Apartheid”: COVID Vaccinations Under Occupation

Apr 7 2021




Scroll down for resources shared during this webinar


“Medical Apartheid”: COVID Vaccinations Under Occupation

Recorded April 7, 2021


Ghada Majadli (Physicians for Human Rights – Israel)

Yara Asi (Al-Shabaka & Arab Center Washington DC)

Moderated by

Kristin McCarthy (FMEP)

Israel’s program of vaccinating its citizens against COVID-19 has been touted worldwide as a great success. Yet, Israel has rejected any responsibility for providing or even facilitating vaccines for the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite the fact that from1967 through the present day Israel exercises overarching control over these areas (and despite the fact that Israel has provided vaccines for its own citizens living in illegal West Bank settlements). 

The results speak for themselves. Israel today is reopening its economy, schools, and airport. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, facing all the obstacles that Israeli occupation entails, continues to struggle to obtain vaccines and to roll out a vaccination program of its own, while the West Bank is undergoing yet another lockdown and the Gaza Strip is being ravaged by a second COVID wave. Experts are aptly describing the situation as “medical apartheid.” 

Join FMEP to learn more about the reality facing Palestinians and the role Israel has played (and sidestepped) in ensuring access to the vaccine. 

Panelist Biographies

Yara M. Asi, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the University of Central Florida. She is a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Scholar to the West Bank, a Policy Member of Al Shabaka, and a Non-resident Fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC. Her research agenda focuses on global health and development in fragile and conflict-affected populations. Along with multiple journal articles, her work has been featured in many outlets such as The Washington Post, The Conversation, NPR, Al Jazeera, and +972 Magazine. Dr. Asi has a book forthcoming with Johns Hopkins University Press about the threats war and conflict pose to public health and human security.

Ghada Majadli is the Director of the Occupied Palestinian Territory Department at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. Ghada brings with her an extensive work experience in human rights and social justice, she joined PHRI in 2017 and has been leading PHRI’s operation in the occupied territory to promote and protect the right to health and access to proper medical care. Ghada has been engaged in research, policy change work and local and international advocacy targeting violations of the right to health of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Ghada holds an MA in Human Rights and Transitional Justice from the Hebrew university of Jerusalem and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Tel Aviv university.

Kristin McCarthy is the Director of Grants & Operations at the Foundation for Middle East Peace, and also authors FMEP’s weekly Settlement Report. Prior to joining FMEP, Kristin was the Policy Director at the Arab American Institute where she served from 2014-2017. Before that, she worked with Israeli and Palestinian human rights experts to do advocacy in Washington, D.C. Kristin has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University.


Follow our panelists and organizations:

On Israel’s Vaccination Drive for its Citizens

“How Israel Delivered the World’s Fastest Vaccine Rollout” —> https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-israel-delivered-the-worlds-fastest-vaccine-rollout-11616080968

“Vaccines For Data: Israel’s Pfizer Deal Drives Quick Rollout — And Privacy Worries” —> https://www.npr.org/2021/01/31/960819083/vaccines-for-data-israels-pfizer-deal-drives-quick-rollout-and-privacy-worries

On COVID in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem

COVID #s in Palestine on April 7, 2021: http://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/123983

“COVID-19 and the Systematic Neglect of East Jerusalem” – by Al Haq —> https://www.alhaq.org/publications/17118.html

PHR-I has numerous reports on COVID in the occupied territories, including: “Cancer Patients in the Gaza Strip During COVID Time | Update” —> https://www.phr.org.il/en/cancer-patients-in-the-gaza-strip-during-the-covid-time-update/?pr=12558

For background on COVID & the health care systems in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, check out this webinar series hosted by FMEP and MEI in March 2020:

On Israel’s Limited Interventions to Vaccinate Palestinians

For more on Israel’s move to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel –> https://www.972mag.com/israel-covid-palestinian-workers-vaccines/

Read about Nadiaa Saabana, the Palestlnian student at Tel Aviv University who was denied a vaccine through the schools vaccination drive, and was explicitly told that the vaccines were not available for Palestinian students: https://www.972mag.com/tau-palestinian-student-vaccine/

“5 Israeli & Palestinian Organizations: Demanding Israel Immediately Secure a Uniform Supply of Vaccines to the Palestinian Population” —> https://www.phr.org.il/en/5-israeli-palestinian-organizations-demanding-israel-immediately-secure-a-uniform-supply-of-vaccines-to-the-palestinian-population/?pr=7749

“Israel’s Vaccine Discrimination against Palestinians Must End” —> https://www.phr.org.il/en/israels-vaccine-discrimination-against-palestinians-must-end/?pr=9258

The Palestinian Authority’s Vaccination Efforts

Where is the PA getting vaccines from? https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-authority-receives-100000-doses-of-chinas-sinopharm-vaccine

On vaccinations for Gaza traders: https://www.ynetnews.com/health_science/article/B1sIZ8gr00

Key Analysis

“Israel’s vaccine efforts are incomplete until they include Palestinians” by Yara Asi https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/15/israels-vaccine-efforts-are-incomplete-until-they-include-palestinians/

Diana Buttu wrote on Israel’s medical apartheid for Al Jazeera – https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/3/23/covid-19-vaccinations-are-proof-of-israels-medical-apartheid