March 9, 2021
“EU must increase Israeli pressure to ensure Palestine Vaccinations” – Chris MacManus MEP

“EU must increase Israeli pressure to ensure Palestine Vaccinations” – Chris MacManus MEP

EU Foreign Affairs High Representative informs Sinn Féin MEP of ‘efforts’ to ensure Israel vaccinates Palestinians

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has described the EU’s effort to ensure Palestinians receive the vaccine as an “an overly diplomatic act of insufficiency” and called for more “tangible influence to be exerted”.

Last month MacManus an MEP for Ireland’s Midlands Northwest constituency, along with other MEPs from The Left group wrote to Mr Borrell, the EU’s Foreign Affairs High Representative, to request action on Israel’s refusal to vaccinate Palestinians. In Mr Borell’s response, he clarified: 

the EU continues to encourage Israel to help address the priority needs of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, and more generally to support COVID-19 vaccine availability. This will be critical for the broader efforts of both Governments to control the pandemic and is also in line with Israel’s obligations under international law. The EU will continue to engage with the Israeli Authorities

Additionally, Mr Borrell detailed to EU’s direct efforts to ensure Palestinians receive the vaccine: 

As the largest donor to the Palestinians, the EU is providing large-scale support through the COVAX facility, through which the occupied Palestinian territory shall receive cheaper doses of vaccine to cover up to 20% of their population: a first batch of 37,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines should be provided in a few weeks, and up to 240,000 additional doses by the summer

Speaking from Brussels, MacManus commented: 

“I welcome the EU taking direct action to get vaccines to the Palestinian people; its efforts here should be increased. However, I am disappointed the EU’s diplomatic pressure on Israel, to fulfil its obligations under international law, has been described as mere “encouragement”. To me, High Representative Borrell’s letter is a polite way of saying the EU will not really challenge Israel but instead will do our best to reverse the worst impacts of Israel’s actions, ie the path of least resistance.” 

The Sinn Féin MEP called for a closer eye on Israel’s questionable behaviour. “Israel recently backed down from its complete refusal to vaccinate Palestinians, saying it would vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian workers in Israel or working in its settlements in the West Bank. Last Friday, it backtracked on this rollout, announcing a postponement, which it attributed to administrative delays. It has not provided any information on a possible new start date.”

“The EU must engage in a deep revaluation of its relationship with Israel, in light of such blatant violations of its obligations as an occupying power, and a lack of respect for human rights. The EU’s current approach only encourages Israel to push the boundaries of oppression in the occupied territories. I think what we’re seeing from the EU is an overly diplomatic act of insufficiency and I am calling for more tangible influence to be exerted.” 

MacManus concluded, “I believe the first step in the reorientation should be a suspension of Israel from all EU funded projects and an EU wide ban on Israeli products produced in the occupied territories entering the EU.” ENDS

Note to Editor:

Copy of letter from Mr Borrell

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