Monday 01 March 2021

Several US Democrat lawmakers criticize Israel for not vaccinating Palestinians

Jamaal Bowman says discrepancy ‘another reminder of why the occupation must end,’ Rashida Tlaib claims policy proof that Israel’s a ‘racist, apartheid state’.

A growing number of Democrats have been critisizing Israel for not vaccinating Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.


On Sunday, newly elected New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman joined senior House Rep. Joaquin Castro, freshman Rep. Marie Newman, former vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib in voicing his concern over the matter.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “must ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians have access to the Covid vaccine,” tweeted Bowman, who has joined the “squad” group of progressive lawmakers.

“This cruelty is another reminder of why the occupation must end,” he added.


According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel as an occupying power, is required to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The Convention obligates an occupying power to “import the necessary medical supplies, including medicaments, vaccines, and sera, when the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.”


Castro, who lost a run to chair the high-level House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Haaretz on Sunday that he was “disappointed and concerned” by the matter.


“I commend Israel for leading the world on vaccinating its people, but I’m disappointed and concerned by their government’s exclusion of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation from these vaccination efforts, despite making COVID vaccines available to Israeli settlers in the West Bank,” he added.


“This is a stark reminder of the importance of achieving a two-state solution that respects the rights of the Palestinian people and the security of Israel,” he said.


In early January, Miller released a statement declaring that “The Netanyahu administration has a moral and humanitarian obligation to ensure that both Israelis & Palestinians have access to vaccines.”


Her comments were followed by far more fiery ones made by Tlaib on the Democracy Now channel last week. The Palestinian-American Congresswoman called Israel a “racist state” that was denying vaccinations to Palestinians like her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank.


“They don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live, deserves to be able to be protected by this global pandemic,” Tlaib said. “It’s really hard to watch as this apartheid state continues to deny their own neighbors, the people that breathe the same air they breathe, that live in the same communities.”

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