Medical Apartheid: Global campaign against Israel’s vaccine distribution policy

Middle East Monitor  /  January 13, 2021

An online petition has been launched in an effort to force Israel to address its discriminatory vaccine distribution policy and provide Palestinians living under its brutal occupation access to the COVID-19 inoculation.

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), declared in a written statement that “an international signatures campaign was launched under the title Medical Apartheid to demand the immediate provision of safe vaccines for the sons and daughters of Palestine.”

Barghouti said tens of thousands have already signed the petition, “including doctors, scientists, thinkers and international artists such as Judith Butler (an American philosopher), Daniel Barenboim (an international musician) and Noam Chomsky (an American thinker and political theorist).”

He emphasised that Palestinian solidarity committees “have been mobilised in various parts of the world to participate in this petition, which will be handed over to various international organizations, UN bodies, and governments, especially in Europe.”

“The gravity of the Israeli crime of racial discrimination in providing vaccines and protection from the dangerous coronavirus pandemic revealed the reality and the truth of the Israeli apartheid system,” he continued.

The campaign also comes as Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, Amir Ohana, reiterated his refusal to provide Palestinian prisoners in the occupation’s jails access to coronavirus vaccines.

The Fourth Geneva Convention states that the occupying power must ensure that all the necessary preventive means available to it are utilised to “combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics”.

It also comes after Israel rejected the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) informal request to immediately provide Palestinian medical staff COVID-19 vaccinations.

The country has been widely criticised for intentionally barring Palestinians from getting vaccinated in the middle of a pandemic, as it is obligated to do under international law as an occupying power.