Responding to Israel’s denying COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians, Congresswoman Rashida Talib said that “Israel is a racist state.”
In an interview for the “Democracy Now!” TV show, Tlaib, who is Palestinian American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, was asked about her reaction to Israel’s vaccinating more of its population while leaving Palestinians waiting to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
Talib answered, “I mean, 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.”
She added, “And 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.”
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) January 19, 2021
“You could put a settlement wherever you want, but on the other side of that wall is a farm community, a village, where my grandmother lives, and many of our, you know, various family members and others that I know are trying, again, to live a good life, a free life, free from these oppressive policies, these racist policies, that deny them access to public health, deny them access to freedom of travel, deny them access to economic opportunities.”
“Our country continues to enable that country and enable Netanyahu, who continues to spew anti-Arab rhetoric that allows violence towards Palestinians to continue in a way that is so inhumane and doesn’t follow international human rights.”
“And so, I think it’s very important. If anything, I hope my colleagues, I hope our country, sees what the Palestinians have been trying to tell us for a very long time, that Israel has no intention of ever being caring or allow equality or freedom for them as their neighbors.”
“My family told me they didn’t have access to testing.”
“They would get some side effects, and they would use the small little house that they had and quarantine the family member. They had no access at all for any preventive measures, any medication.”
Tlaib said ‘Israel’ has the power to distribute vaccines to the Palestinians, but their alleged refusal to do so is illustrative of what they supposedly are: “an apartheid state.”
“They have 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.”
Although ‘Israel’ has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout, it has been criticised for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine.
As of 3 January 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 159,034 Palestinians in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, have so far tested positive for coronavirus since the first confirmed case was reported in March 2020.
There have been nearly 1,600 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic.
More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, receive the vaccination in less than two weeks – the highest rate in the world while It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.
Israel is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as an occupying power.
Under the fourth Geneva Convention, occupying forces are responsible for providing healthcare to the population of the occupied area.
Most states as well as the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, consider Israel to be an occupying power.