Bernie Sanders slams ‘Israel’ for sending COVID-19 vaccines to foreign allies before Palestinians

Washington (QNN)- US Senator Bernie Sanders criticized the Israeli occupation government for sending COVID-19 vaccines to foreign allies before sending vaccines to Palestinians.

Sanders was responding to a New York Times tweet stating that “Israel’s vaccine donations to faraway countries have angered Palestinians who say Israel is responsible for the well-being of Palestinians in the occupied territories, where vaccines are scarce.”

“As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for the health of all the people under its control. It is outrageous that Netanyahu would use spare vaccines to reward his foreign allies while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting,” Sanders tweeted.

The Israeli occupation government has pledged to send thousands of spare coronavirus vaccines to foreign allies, including the Czech Republic and Honduras who confirmed that ‘Israel’ had promised them each 5,000 vaccine doses manufactured by Moderna. The Israeli news media reported that Hungary and Guatemala would also be sent a similar number.

‘Israel’ has been criticised widely for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine while it has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout.

Today, 34.62% of Israel’s population is fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University while it excluded the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

Last month, ‘Israel’ agreed to transfer only 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize just the front-line medical workers.

Nearly two weeks ago, ‘Israel’ allowed the Palestinians to send the first shipment of 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines donated by Russia to the besieged Gaza Strip, after it banned the entry of the shipment in the same week.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 2,000 doses of the Russian ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine were supposed to enter Gaza Strip, however, ‘Israel’, allowed the entry of only 1000 doses, which has a population of about 2 million.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a Zoom speech at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on Monday that Israel has refused to give vaccines to the Palestinians or even allow vaccine shipments from abroad to enter the West Bank and Gaza.

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, ‘Israel’, as an occupying power, is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as the 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.

The UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights organizations have called on ‘Israel’ to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.

“The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty International.

To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2205 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 546 of them in the Gaza strip. 88295 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.

Recently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in a phone call to facilitate the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.

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