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Lockdown in Palestinian Territories to end


Lockdown in Palestinian Territories to end

Palestine lockdown
Photo: Alaa Badarneh/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Palestinian Authority is set to end its COVID-19 lockdown today.

On March 6, the Palestinian Authority imposed lockdown measures in many of its governorates after experiencing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases resulting from the spread of the South African and British viral strains. The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that it has secured deals to provide up to 70% of its citizens in the West Bank with vaccines, but Gaza has been slow to receive vaccines because of the Egyptian and Israeli blockades that have been imposed since 2007.

The Palestinian Authority has had a hard time securing vaccinations despite its neighbour Israel recording the highest rate of immunisations per capita in the world. However, within the Israel-Palestine relationship, vaccination is a matter of diplomacy. Israel recently initiated a pilot program to vaccinate Palestinian labourers, with the goal of reaching over 100,000 Palestinians.

Israel, home to nearly two million Palestinians, will be pressured to expand this vaccination program or face potential withdrawal of international support. Israel is likely to directly provide this vaccine support rather than rescind the blockade against Hamas, which, if removed, could open exploitation opportunities for the proscribed terrorist group.

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