Lessons of the Israeli-palestinian conflict for public health: The case of the COVID-19 vaccination gap

Yara Dahdal, Nadav Davidovitch, Michael Gilmont, Javier Lezaun, Maya Negev, Deborah Sandler, Mohammed Shaheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a faceless, non-adversarial threat that en-dangered Israelis and Palestinians with the same ferocity. However, the capacities of the health systems to address it were not equal, with Israel more equipped for the outbreak with infrastructure, resources, manpower and later, vaccines. The pandemic demonstrated the life-saving benefits of cooperation and the self-defeating harms brought by non-cooperation. These trends are explored here by an international team of public health and environmental scholars, including those from different sides of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. This article explores the importance of recognizing the Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions as a single epidemiological unit, and illustrates how doing so is a pragmatic positioning that can serve self-interest. We demonstrate how despite political shocks precipitating non-cooperation, there has been a recurrent tendency towards limited cooper-ation. The paper concludes with lessons over the need for reframing public health as a potential bridge, the need for structural changes creating sustainable platforms for accelerated transboundary cooperation to enable the steady management of current and future public and environmental health crises regardless of dynamic political crises, and the importance of civil society and international organizations in forging collaboration in advance of governmental engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11292
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work did not receive any direct funding support from the public, not for profit, or commercial sectors. M.G., J.L. and D.S. are supported by the Oxford Martin Program on Trans-boundary Resource Management (University of Oxford). D.S. is has also received support from the Arava Institute Track II Environmental Forum.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Climate change
  • Conflict
  • Cooperation
  • Health systems
  • Israel
  • MENA
  • Non-cooperation
  • One epidemiological unit
  • Palestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Lessons of the Israeli-palestinian conflict for public health: The case of the COVID-19 vaccination gap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this