Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib accused Israel of denying Palestinians access to the COVID-19 vaccine, when in fact, it is the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility to get their citizens inoculated, under the Olso Accords.
“I think it’s really important to understand Israel is a racist state and that they would deny Palestinians, like my grandmother, access to a vaccine, that 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,” the Michigan Democrat said in an interview for the “Democracy Now!” TV show.
Contrary to her statements, Israel is not blocking vaccines from getting to Palestinians. Israeli officials have stated that the country must take care of its citizens first just as the PA is responsible for vaccinating its own population. It is a lie that Israel “would deny Palestinians access to the COVID-19 vaccine.” Israel simply doesn’t feel it is her responsibility. The Palestinian Authority is its own government with a budget, a police force and medical facilities.
But that didn’t stop Tlaib.
“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,” she said.
This is another lie. The only Arabs that “live in the same communities” as Jewish Israelis and are the more than one million Arab Israelis, who have the same access to the vaccine as Israeli Jews. If there was some sort of racism or apartheid, why is Israel making sure their entire Arab population is vaccinated? In fact, the government has profusely promoted the vaccine in Arab communities with several officials visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein encouraging Israeli Arabs to get vaccinated.
Israel is leading the world in its vaccination campaign, having already inoculated some 30 percent of the eligible population.
But Tlaib was bouncing off the organization Human Rights Watch and others that have called on Israel, as the “occupying power,” to provide vaccines to the 4.5 million Palestinians as well, rather than put the onus on Fatah and Hamas to do so.
Israel has “the power to distribute that vaccine to the Palestinian people, their own neighbors, again, feet away from where they live, many of which, again, could expose them and their family. And it doesn’t. If anything, it just reiterates what the Palestinian people and even human rights groups have been telling us, is that this is an apartheid state,” Tlaib insisted.
And even if Israel wanted to help the Palestinians, how would they do that? The PA has not formally requested aid from Israel regarding the vaccine. Ramallah is waiting for shipments of the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, and the first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive in February.
Tlaib also failed to mention that Israel is paying $47 a dose, which is higher than most countries, and that the Jewish state promised to pass along the medical records of its citizens to Pfizer in exchange for the the vast and quick supply of vaccines it has received.