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TOP STORIES TODAY

Nearly 100,000 vaccinated Sunday as Health Ministry expands inoculation drive (Times of Israel) 

"With 379,000 shots administered, Israel leads world in injections per capita while Edelstein pledges to increase pace; meanwhile, positive tests hit highest rate in two months."

"The Health Ministry on Monday announced a new daily record in coronavirus vaccination numbers, with 98,916 shots administered the previous day, a week after Israel began its inoculation campaign. The total number of inoculations in the country stood at 379,000."

"In a statement, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein praised the various authorities and care providers for their work in quickly administering the vaccine, as well as the public for its enthusiasm in receiving it."

"Israel currently ranks first globally in vaccinations per capita, slightly ahead of Bahrain and quite significantly ahead of other world countries, according to the University of Oxford-run Our World in Data."
COVID in besieged Gaza: ‘A blockade inside a blockade’
 
Maram Humaid writes: "The coronavirus – which swept across the world this year, infecting tens of millions and upending life in nearly every country – has only exacerbated Gaza’s woes."

"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaza has recorded more than 36,000 cases and 310 deaths. The virus has spread rapidly in the congested enclave, where 70 percent of the population are refugees who live in overcrowded camps."

"Abd al-Latif al-Hajj, director of international cooperation at the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, said Gaza’s healthcare system has been overstretched for years amid the blockade and from three significant Israeli military assaults on the enclave."

"Al-Hajj also noted that Israel has already begun vaccinating its citizens, ignoring its responsibility towards the occupied Gaza Strip. 'Unfortunately, no one can force Israel to fulfil its obligations towards the Palestinians,' he said."

Israeli Minister Orders Not to Vaccinate Palestinian Security Prisoners, Despite COVID Directives (Haaretz)

Josh Breiner writes: "Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana instructed the Israel Prison Service late last week not to inoculate Palestinian security prisoners, despite Health Ministry’s guidelines that prisoners should be part of the second group of Israelis to be vaccinated against coronavirus, together with security personnel."

"The office of the minister stated that only prison staff should be vaccinated because 'there should be no inoculating security prisoners without approval and in line with vaccination progress among the general population.'

"Although the statement referred only to 'security prisoners,' a letter on the matter sent by Moshe Edri, the Public Security Ministry’s director general, did not make such a distinction, instead referring to the general prisoner population."

"Ohana's statement did not single out Palestinian inmates. However, there are no non-Palestinian security prisoners in Israel."
Israel and UAE 'collaborating to eliminate UNRWA': report (The New Arab)

"Israel and the United Arab Emirates are working together to eliminate the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the French newspaper Le Monde has reported."

"The writer of the Le Monde report, Benjamin Barthe, said in a Twitter thread that 'Emirati officials are considering an action plan intended to gradually eliminate UNRWA, without making this development conditional on a resolution of the [Palestinian] refugee problem.'"

"Donald Trump cut off US funding to UNRWA in 2018, and this has severely impacted the agency’s ability to provide aid and health services to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip in particular."

"In November 2020, UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillippe Lazzarini said that the UN body was 'on the edge of a cliff', unable to cover its expenses for the first time in its history."

GO DEEPER

YouTube’s Violation of Palestinian Digital Rights: What Needs to be Done (Al Shabaka)

Amal Nazzal writes: "In recent years, an increasing number of Palestinians have reported having their right of expression suppressed by dominant social media platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube."

"In 2019, Sada Social, a Palestinian digital rights organization, documented as many as 1,000 violations including the removal of public pages, accounts, posts, publications, and restriction of access. However, we know little about YouTube’s policies and practices towards Palestinian digital content, whether these policies are in line with human rights law in general, and how they are applied to Palestinian content."
 
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