Palestinian man with corona vaccine. (Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash90) Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash90
Palestinian vaccine

Watchdog group demands the Palestinian Authority elites stop hoarding coronavirus vaccine for their families and cronies.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

A Palestinian watchdog group of brave civilians that risks arrest and persecution by demanding an end to dictatorial practices recently called out the Palestinian leadership for hoarding coronavirus vaccines and giving shots to family members and cronies.

The news was reported by Palestinian Media Watch, which translated the report by the Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN).

The damning report rakes the Palestinian leadership over the coals for lack of transparency in its coronavirus vaccine program, noting that the Palestinian Authority is not releasing details about the program.

The report accuses Palestinian leadership of using its supply of doses to inoculate elites, leadership in the ruling Fatah Party, and family members of the aforementioned groups.

“The current government [in Ramallah] continues to overlook the calls for disclosing its Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan and the list of persons who received the vaccines, both from the medical staff and others,” the AMAN report said. “It continues to refrain from announcing the mechanisms, measures and points of distribution, and from holding accountable those who abused their public positions. This creates an enabling environment for Wasta, nepotism, selfishness and omission of the public interest.”

“Wasta” means “you know who” in Arabic, but across the Arab world – and especially in areas controlled by the Palestinians – it is a synonym for inherent corruption, favoritism, and ignoring the rules.

Despite public promises starting last November that the PA was on top of the coronavirus vaccine situation and that millions of doses would start arriving by the end of December, the Palestinians in charge keep making excuses and blaming Israel, rather than revealing what is really going on, leading Palestinian NGOs to demand their government come clean.

“The Palestinian Civil Society Organizations demand that the Prime Minister [Mohammed Shtayyeh] forms an investigation committee to scrutinize the process of vaccine distribution, to hold to account those who violated the distribution principles, and to publish the Covid-19 vaccination plan,” AMAN said in a statement last week.

“The government must adhere to the principles of transparency and integrity in managing the pandemic, since the countries that confronted the pandemic most effectively are those that adhered to the principles of partnership, disclosure and transparency with their citizens to manage the crisis,” the statement said, most likely referring to Israel, but not saying the name in order to reduce the embarrassment to Palestinian officials who previously refused to ask Israel for assistance.

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