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Posts Tagged ‘Mustafa Barghouti

Israeli Vaccine Drive Excludes Millions of Palestinians in Occupied Territories

STORY JANUARY 05, 2021

Despite the fast rollout, human rights groups are expressing alarm over Israel’s decision Not to vaccinate Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, where about 1,500 people have died during the pandemic.

Israel has defended its actions citing the Oslo Peace Accords, which put Palestinian authorities in charge of healthcare in the West Bank and Gaza. (An accord that Israel never applied, as usual)

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a physician, member of the Palestinian Parliament and head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. “Israelis are getting the vaccines, and Palestinians are getting nothing.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Israel has become the first country in the world to administer COVID-19 vaccines to more than 10% of its population. As of Monday, 14% of Israelis had received a vaccine — far higher than any other country. Despite the fast rollout, Israel’s health minister says a total lockdown is needed to combat the surging number of new infections. (Actually, most of Israelis that travelled to the Gulf Emirates were fleeing the lockdown)

This comes as human rights groups are expressing alarm over Israel’s decision not to vaccinate Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, where about 1,500 people have died during the pandemic.

Physicians for Human Rights recently said, quote, “Israel bears moral and humanitarian responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian population under its control,” unquote. Israel is, however, offering vaccines to Jewish settlers living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Israel has defended its actions, citing the Oslo Peace Accords, which put Palestinian authorities in charge of healthcare in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian officials are facing a number of hurdles in launching its own vaccine campaign, including a shortage of money, lack of access to vaccines, lack of infrastructure to distribute a vaccine.

Israel has so far been relying on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.

Storing such a vaccine is impossible in Gaza, where residents often go 12 or more hours a day without electricity.

In 2014, Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant in what Amnesty International described as “collective punishment” of Palestinians.

We go now to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where we’re joined by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, physician, member of the Palestinian Parliament, head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, has been leading efforts to manage the pandemic in the West Bank and Gaza.

He was infected with COVID-19 in December. He’s secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party. And he was a presidential candidate in the 2005 elections.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Dr. Barghouti. Can you explain what is happening? How has Israel become the country that has vaccinated more of its population than any country in the world, and yet Palestinians are not getting vaccinated? Who’s in charge of this program? Who should be?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, thank you, Amy. I’m glad to be with you.

Israel actually is violating international law, because it is denying its responsibility as an occupying power. Israel managed to get 14 million vaccines for the Israelis and those who hold Israeli IDs, but gave nothing to Palestinians. So, practically, they are vaccinating 8 million Israelis and not vaccinating 5.3, 5.2 million Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories.

More than that, this system of racial discrimination (It is a colonial apartheid discrimination), which can only be compared, in my opinion, to apartheid system, is doing something horrible in the West Bank.

Seven hundred fifty thousand 750,000 illegal settlers are getting the vaccines now; 3.1 million Palestinians in the West Bank are getting nothing.

More than that, in the Israeli prisons, Israel ordered the guards in the prisons to get the vaccine, and probably the Israeli criminal prisoners, but the Palestinian prisoners, 5,000 of them, are getting nothing.

What can be more clear here than that this confirms that this is really a system of racial discrimination?

And when they speak that the Palestinian Authority is responsible, this is totally misleading.

First of all, the Palestinian Authority approached them, asking at least for vaccines for us, the healthcare providers, who are being infected around the clock. And Israel refused.

The Palestinian Authority is in charge only of 38% of the West Bank, only.

Sixty-two percent of the West Bank is Area C, under full Israeli military control, and Israel is doing nothing for Palestinians there.

If the Palestinian Authority tries to import a vaccine from outside, they will need Israeli permit. And Israel did not allow any permit yet for Palestinians. Israel controls the borders, controls the imports, controls the exports.

And the biggest disaster is in Gaza, because in Gaza you have 2.1 million besieged by Israel, lacking health facilities, lacking equipment, and there, they are not getting any vaccines.

70% of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees displaced from their land in 1948. When you tell them, “Go and quarantine,” I don’t know how they can do that, if you have 10 people living in two rooms. It’s impossible.

The problem is that the rate of infection today in the West Bank and Gaza is 36%, while in Israel it’s 4.5%. Israelis are getting the vaccines, and Palestinians are getting nothing.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Dr. Barghouti, isn’t it in the interest of Israel, from a public health perspective, even if they want to pursue this continued antagonistic policy toward the Palestinians, to have the Palestinians vaccinated, to reach herd immunity in the total area?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: You’re absolutely right. In my opinion, Netanyahu and his government — this man is so racist. He only thinks of himself. He only thinks of his political future. He only thinks of escaping the criminal charges against him and being reelected again.

And all he does is to satisfy the Israeli right-wing voters.

In reality, what his government is doing is actually hurting the Israelis, as well, because you cannot reach herd community if you have 8 million people vaccinated and 5.2 million people not vaccinated, especially that 130,000 Palestinian workers will continue to go to Israel for work and will interact with Israelis, of course, and there are 750,000 other Israelis, illegal settlers, in the West Bank, who will continue to commute and communicate with the 3.1 million unvaccinated Palestinians.

So, practically, this is a crime against Palestinians and a crime against the health of Israelis. It’s a violation of the international law, but also it’s, in my opinion, the worst crime against medical ethics, which says nobody should be discriminated against because of anything, which says, “Do no harm, and help people as much as you can as a health professional.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you — the COVAX facility that the World Health Organization established to help poor countries has pledged to vaccinate 20% of Palestinians. Where does that stand right now in terms of that pledge?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I am in communication with the head of WHO here. And they are trying their best, but they do not think they can get anything here before four or five months, and if they are lucky.

Up ’til now, they don’t know what vaccine they can get in. Up ’til now, they don’t know how to get vaccines. That’s why, given the huge spread now of community infections in the West Bank and Gaza, a very high number of cases — I estimate we have already 600,000 cases.

And they approached the Israelis. The WHO approached Israel, asking at least for vaccines for the health professionals. Israel refused and continues to refuse.

So, unfortunately, we are looking here at a potential real serious disaster. And as a person who is suffering from COVID-19 now, after nine months of being so protective and trying to be very careful, I can tell you this is a horrible disease.

I don’t wish it for anybody. It’s very dangerous. It can be destructive. It can kill the people. And it can also leave them with incapacity for a very long — for the rest of their life.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, as you said, you yourself have COVID-19 right now. You’re in the throes of it. We know that Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator, died of COVID-19. You’re a frontline physician. Do you get vaccinated?

And what about the vaccines? Apparently, PA has asked the United Arab Emirates to share some of its supply of Chinese-made vaccine, and the Palestinian Authority has reportedly ordered 4 million doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

When are these doses going to come? And what are you demanding of the not only Israeli government, but the U.S. government, since it gives so much money to the Israeli government?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I think I demand from the whole international community to do two things: First of all, to exercise immediate pressure on Israel to allow the passage of vaccines to at least the beginning — in the beginning, to the health professionals that are taking care of people, so that the health system would not collapse, and then to the elderly, of course, etc.;

Second, we’re asking the international community to provide aid, bypassing Israel. Israel will not respond. And the international community has a big duty here.

I was not vaccinated. No health professional in the West Bank has been vaccinated yet. And we don’t know when we will get this vaccine. And it is really critical, because the rate of infection is going up, and it is affecting — it could affect everybody in the community. So what we need is immediate pressure.

Regarding the Russian vaccine, yes,, there was a request, but I don’t think the Russians can provide such vaccines, because their capacity of production is still low. They have produced only 500,000, up ’til now, vaccines. And their maximum capacity is 4 to 5 million per month, and they need 100 million vaccines for Russia itself. So I don’t think that is a solution, although the Sputnik vaccine seems to be very good.

I think what we need is to really have a way of getting the AstraZeneca or the Moderna vaccine. Of course, we have a problem with Pfizer, although we have managed to provide some facilities in the West Bank, if we can get it, to give it to people.

But the most immediate need now — now it’s a health disaster. Now it’s a very risky situation. A whole population is subjected to a very big, alarming risk. That’s why it is very urgent to immediately exercise pressure so that Palestinians also get the vaccines.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you describe this as medical apartheid?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Yes, absolutely. This is the worst form of apartheid: medical apartheid. It didn’t even exist in South Africa.

This is just beyond description. Imagine you go to a prison: You vaccinate the guards, but not the prisoners; you vaccinate Israeli prisoners, who are criminal usually, and not vaccinate Palestinian political prisoners.

Imagine you go in the cities of the West Bank: The settlers are vaccinated, and nearby Palestinian cities and communities are not vaccinated. Not only they grab our land, not only they settle illegally on our land, take away our natural resources, take away our sources of economy, but also they back this system of apartheid. I call it — I call it vaccination with racism.—

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, physician, member of the Palestinian Parliament, thanks for joining us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Palestinians demand an independent State in Palestine: Cannot buy the alternative

The Trump administration has been working hard to establish Israel as the only viable State in the Middle-East to dialogue with. A few Gulf Emirate States have been coaxed to sign a dubious “peace treaty” with Israel, like Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

The funny part is that the representatives of these 2 semi-States behaved as totally ignorant on what they are signing with Trump.

Egypt and Jordan had signed a treaty in 1974-75 which resulted in countless wars and civil wars in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

‘NYT’ coverage of Trump peace plan news quotes 5 pro-Israel voices, 0 Palestinians

Media Analysis

 on 

The New York Times covers phase one of the Trump peace plan, an economic “workshop” in Bahrain next month at which the administration is expected to dangle the money it wants to give Palestinians and states neighboring Israel, so that Palestinians will sacrifice their political demands/rights (among them sovereignty on ’67 borders; return of refugees; shared Jerusalem)– a figure said to be $68 billion.

The article quotes No Palestinians. (No Palestinian business person will attend this faked “workshop”)

It does include quotes from Aaron David Miller, Jared Kushner, Robert Satloff, Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin, and Brookings pundit Tamara Cofman Wittes. Five (Jewish) Americans, all five of them strong supporters of Israel. (Mnuchin’s background is here.)

Satloff, Wittes, and Miller are all presented as “critics” of the plan, but they are all Zionist critics of the plan. Just different shades of Zionist.(No, not shade. Stauncher Zionists than most Israelis)

Why? This is racism in journalism before your eyes.

The Times clearly has a structural bias against Palestinians. (As all colonial powers’ administrations in the last century)

Even as it demonstrates its higher consciousness in other left zones, the newspaper is stuck in the old paradigm on Israel.

How else could a newspaper publish four justifications of the killings of nonviolent protesters inside of a few months, as it did last year in Gaza?

This would never happen in any other context when a government opens fire on demonstrators.

But the Times columnists offered those justifications, in Shmuel Rosner’s case almost a bloodthirsty one, and there was no balance, let alone criticism from the Roger Cohens, David Brookses, and Michelle Goldbergs of the world.

Palestinians simply don’t count as full human actors.

The Palestinian Prime Minister released a statement rejecting the economic summit today.

He and his cabinet surely were available yesterday. So was Sam Bahour, who writes that Palestine cannot have an economic future without an independent political future, in which construction workers and university graduates will be able to find employment inside a Palestinian state.

Diana Buttu, Saeb Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi (who has been denied a visa to travel to the U.S.), Omar Barghouti, Mustafa Barghouti, Haider Eid surely would have spoken to the Times, too.

Palestine is truly teeming with sophisticated political actors on a wide range who would have something to say about the implausibility of economic peace.

And if the Times says this was an American politics piece, well, there are Palestinians here, too, who have a lot to say.

The bottom line is obvious and disturbing. Palestinians aren’t equals.

 

Israel loses, so far, 8 billion dollars on its genocide war on Gaza people

And Arab parties are resuscitating and joining the boycott

As the world community has been boycotting Israel arms industries and scientific cooperation

In 2012, Israel arms sale reached $7 billion, claiming that they were tested on live fields of action

Mustafa Barghouti

Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative movement, has estimated that Israel has incurred losses of around eight billion dollars due to the boycott campaign against illegal settlements, equivalent to 20% of their GDP.

Regarding the latest Palestinian efforts to escalate the settlement boycott, Barghouti revealed that an agreement has been made with 13 democratic Arab parties to form boycott committees in the Arab world.

In a statement to Quds Net News Agency on Thursday he said: “the European Union did not issue a decision to boycott Israel, but what is taking place is the boycott of any relationship or agreements with settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

Furthermore: “This experience is being circulated worldwide and not only in European countries; many areas worldwide are also ready to boycott the settlements.”

The agreement with the Arab parties to participate in the boycott campaign came after the participation of a delegation from the Palestinian National Initiative movement headed by Barghouti, along with a delegation from Fatah, headed by Nabil Shaath in the Arab Social Democratic Forum. It was held in Amman, Jordan, over two days and ended Wednesday.

The draft resolution put forward by the Palestinian National Initiative regarding Jerusalem was agreed upon unanimously, along with a mass movement of boycott and sanctions against Israel and the decision to support the Palestinian popular resistance and the struggle for justice for Palestinians against the occupation and the settlements.

The delegates called upon the people of the Arab world and its friends to adopt a strategy for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends its discriminatory, unjust occupation.

It is expected that the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva will vote on Thursday and Friday on 5 resolutions condemning Israel. These include a resolution calling to encourage boycotting Israeli settlements and cutting all investments with them.

Meanwhile, Israeli diplomacy has not taken any direct action to curb these decisions and is busy dealing with strikes in their international embassies and consulates.

A senior Israeli official said that the proposal for the resolution calling for a boycott of the settlements is creating tension and anxiety in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Having realised that Israeli diplomacy is completely paralysed due to the strikes, they quickly decided to assign a special envoy to Geneva.

Meanwhile the Israeli vice-president of the National Security Council, Aaron Larmon, was expected to arrive on Wednesday but a last minute decision was taken to cancel the visit after officials in the Prime Minister’s office realised that they would not be able to influence the formulation of decisions looming in Geneva.

The draft resolution in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva was based on the proposition made by a group of Arab states in the Human Rights Council, including the Palestinian Authority, and is entitled Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The proposed draft resolution, which will be voted upon, is the first of its kind to condemn Israel in UN Human Rights Council resolutions.

Israel considers the wording very dangerous as it is based on what is stated in the BDS campaign against settlements, and although the decision of the Human Rights Council does not bind any obligation upon any state, the vote in favour of such a decision will bring about more Israeli settlement boycotts and the boycott of Israeli companies that cooperate with settlements, operate there, or even open branches there.

– See more at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/10590-israel-loses-eight-billion-dollars-and-arab-parties-join-the-boycott#sthash.4e8w8gEO.dpuf


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