Like all people, Palestinians have the right to live in health and safety. But while the Israeli government rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Israeli citizens, Israel is denying the lifesaving vaccine to Palestinians living under its military occupation.
On February 15, Israel delayed the transfer of vaccines for medical staff in Gaza . And in another clear example of Israel’s racist policies, the Israeli government planned to vaccinate only Israeli citizens held in their prisons, leaving Palestinians illegally held in Israeli prisons  vulnerable to disease and death. Only after massive international outcry, this plan changed.
Let’s be clear: the Israeli government is obligated under international law to provide the vaccine to Palestinians living under its military occupation  and is actively neglecting their obligation to do so. This endangers Palestinians who are already at risk because of Israel’s systematic destruction of the Palestinian health-care system . For instance, in Gaza, the worsening public health situation is compounded by living under an almost 14 year blockade, facing crushing poverty and ongoing, systematic violence.
COVID-19 is revealing Israel’s brutal decades-old system of separate-and-unequal control over the Palestinian people. This is apartheid, and the U.S. is paying for it with $3.8 billion in unconditional military funding every single year.
Congress has the power to hold Israel accountable, or continue enabling Israel’s abuses. It’s up to us to make our demands clear and ensure they choose justice. Tell your representatives that healthcare for all has no borders: Congress must demand Israel provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Palestinians now.
1. Israel blocked Covid vaccines from entering Gaza, say Palestinians, The Guardian, Feb 16 2021
2. Israel ‘declined WHO request’ to provide Covid-19 vaccine for Palestinian medics, Middle East Eye, Jan 11 2021
3. Israel: Provide Vaccines to Occupied Palestinians, Human Rights Watch, Jan 17 2021
4. COVID-19 in the West Bank and Gaza: A second wave under military occupation and siege, MEI, July 29 2020
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