You can read their letter by scrolling down this page past our response.
Never ones to tolerate falsehoods, we promptly submitted a response to the Telegraph.
Whilst we certainly hope it will be published, we cite it below in the meantime.
The Zionist Federation of UK and Ireland’s letter submitted to the Telegraph, in response to
Sir Nicholas Soames’ and Sir Alan Duncan’s letter published 20.01.2021.
Sir Nicholas Soames and Sir Alan Duncan feel it is Israel’s legal and moral responsibility to extend its vaccination programme to the Palestinians living in the West Bank.
It is worth noting that those Palestinians in the West Bank’s Areas A and B are under the governance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and as such, in regard to healthcare, are the responsibility of the PA’s Health Ministry, as has been the case since both Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. Prior to that, Israel as the “occupying power” would have been responsible for administering the vaccination to the Palestinians in the territories. However, since the Oslo Accords, the official responsibility for healthcare, hospitals and vaccination programmes lies firmly with the PA.
To date, and as has been corroborated by various people in the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinians have not made any official request to Israel to take part in its vaccination programme, but have confirmed that they have been making their own moves to secure the required number of vaccinations for their population.
Whilst Sir Nicholas Soames’s and Sir Alan Duncan’s letter suggests a picture of Israel providing vaccinations to “illegal settlers” in the West Bank but not the millions of Palestinians living around them, as the media watchdog organisation CAMERA UK recently noted, “this no more relevant than the UK government providing the vaccine to Newry in Northern Ireland, but not to Dundalk, a mere 20 km away in the Republic of Ireland.” Those “illegal settlers” that Sirs Soames and Duncan refer to are in fact Israeli citizens living east of the 1949 Armistice line (never a final border). The Palestinians living under Palestinian rule are not Israeli citizens.
To suggest that Israel is illegally excluding the Palestinian people from its vaccination programme is at best, misleading. At worst, it is malicious and serves only to fan the flames of this decades old conflict and the Antisemitism that all too often features in its narrative.
Executive Director of The Zionist Federation of UK and Ireland