Mondoweiss / January 4, 2021
Once again, the Jerusalem bureau of the New York Times publishes pro-Israel propaganda instead of telling its readers the truth. This time, the dishonesty is about Israel’s coronavirus vaccination program.
Here’s Isabel Kershner’s headline over the weekend:
How Israel Became a World Leader in Vaccinating Against Covid-19
The lead sentence: “More than 10 percent of Israel’s population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, a rate that has far outstripped the rest of the world. . .” In the 4th paragraph, the chairman of a team of experts gushes, “It’s quite an astonishing story.”
You have to read all the way down to Paragraph 26 before the Times tells you the ugly truth: Israel is not inoculating Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, even though the paper notes, as an afterthought, that “Legal experts and human rights activists said Israel was obliged to provide the Palestinians with vaccines.” Kershner never apparently asked herself, “How do West Bank Palestinians feel about the fact that their ‘neighbours,’ the several hundred thousand Jewish settlers, are getting vaccinated and they are not ?”
The Washington Post did a better job today. In the fifth paragraph, the paper does report that “Israel’s head start on the vaccine count does not include almost 5 million Palestinians under its control in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip, where cases are also surging.”
(The Times somehow left out that 5 million figure.) The Post also noted that, “Israeli officials have rejected claims of human rights groups that Israel is obliged to provide vaccinations to Palestinians in the territories. . . ,” but then dropped the subject without following up.
Neither the Times nor the Post talked to a single Palestinian under the Israeli occupation.
This site’s Yumna Patel showed a week ago how the coronavirus vaccination story should have been reported. Her headline was,
The COVID-19 vaccine: another ugly face of Israeli Apartheid
She quotes an actual Palestinian, Dr. Yara Hawari, Senior Analyst at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, who pointed out:
Firstly, we have to be very clear: with military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza effectively under Israeli control, Israel is legally obliged by international law to provide for their [Palestinians’] healthcare.
And Dr. Hawari had plenty more to say:
There’s this common recurring narrative that the reason the Palestinian healthcare system or other systems like education are inefficient and not doing their job is because of incompetence on the part of the Palestinian people or their culture — this idea that they’re stupid and can’t govern.
That’s obviously not the case. The Israeli regime has systematically targeted the Palestinian healthcare system and contributed to its de-development. Palestinians have been forced to rely on outside help and have been prevented from being self-sufficient by the [Israeli] occupation, with the complacency of the international community.
James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades; he lives in New York City