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Israel to begin vaccinating Palestinian prisoners

Israel will begin vaccinating Palestinian prisoners next week after caving into pressure from campaigners and the country’s president, who warned it was a violation of human rights, reports James Rothwell in Jerusalem .

Yuli Edelstein, the health minister, said the government would start giving the jabs on Monday or Tuesday to all prisoners. It comes after Reuven Rivlin, the president of Israel, rebuked the country’s public security minister, who initially said Palestinian prisoners should not receive vaccines until further notice.

“Preventing life-saving medical treatment from people in prison, whether due to a sentence imposed on them by the court or due to detention prior to sentencing, is inconsistent with our values, the values of the state, Judaism, and democracy,” Mr Rivlin said.

Five human rights groups in Israel had also handed a petition to the High Court of Justice, demanding a change in policy.

Israel has given jabs to more than two million people in just a few weeks – some 20 per cent of the population – as part of the world’s fastest vaccinations drive.