Cleveland Peace Action calls on the Israeli government to end its exclusionary practices in denying to many, access to a COVID-19 vaccine. While some have praised Israel for its quick rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, others point out that more than five million Palestinian Arabs have been excluded from Israel’s vaccine distribution efforts. Israel has rationalized this unfair vaccine distribution system by saying that first priority for vaccination goes to those who are citizens of Israel, noting that Palestinians living in the West Bank under brutal military occupation are “merely permanent residents.” Israeli medical officials had hinted that they may begin to offer the Moderna vaccine to Palestinians living in the West Bank; but this has been exposed as a lie since Israel has announced that it will ship its “spare vaccines” to nations it believes are its foreign allies. For example, Honduras and the Czech Republic, both of which have recognized Israeli control of Jerusalem, will receive shipments of the vaccine that will then not be going to Palestinian Arabs, who continue to suffer under Israeli military rule. In addition, now Guatemala (no stranger to human rights abuses of its own), and Viktor Orban’s Hungary have announced that they will move their foreign delegations to Jerusalem in exchange for shipments of the vaccine. In an effort to deflect criticism of this racist, two-tier medical system, Israel now insists that providing potentially life-saving vaccines to Arabs living under its military rule is not its responsibility! Instead they try to shift blame to the Palestinian Authority (PA) . This moral tunnel vision seeks to blame the PA despite the fact that Israel controls about 64% of the West Bank under the terms of the Oslo Accords of 1993. The Geneva Convention specifically states that the occupying power (Israel) has a responsibility provide medical services to those living in territory it has captured and controls. From the United States, Israel receives about $4 billion in military aid annually as well $8 billion in loan guarantees. Cleveland Peace Action says: “No rights for Palestinians? Then, no aid for Israel! End the cruel two-tier medicine system in Israel/Palestine! Establish a vaccination program for Palestinian Arabs that is paid for by Israel; yet administered by an international aid agency.
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