[News] Fauci champions Israeli medical apartheid

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Sat Feb 20 12:42:42 EST 2021

champions Israeli medical apartheid

Maureen Clare Murphy
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/maureen-clare-murphy> - 19 February

Anthony Fauci punted when asked about Israel’s refusal to provide vaccines
to Palestinians living under its military rule.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist and chief medical adviser to the US
president, has given his implicit endorsement of Israeli medical apartheid.

In an interview
with *The Times of Israel*, Fauci lauded Israel’s COVID-19
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/covid-19> vaccination program as a
“model for the rest of the world,” crediting the socialized healthcare
system in the country.

Israel has been lionized for its supposedly comprehensive vaccine rollout,
with outlets like *The New York Times* saying it points to a way out
of the pandemic.

The only trouble is that Israel is refusing to distribute vaccines to
millions of people living under its single system of unequal rule

If anything, Israel exemplifies the deeply inequitable
global allocation of vaccines that will only allow COVID-19 to thrive.

The reality of Israel’s discriminatory
vaccine rollout is hardly worthy of praise.

Fauci’s adulations are a major propaganda gift to Israel, which seeks to be
viewed as a bastion of technical innovation rather than a brutal occupier.

*The Times of Israel* asked Fauci whether the country should “help
vaccinate neighboring Palestinians.”

The publication notes that “Fauci responded carefully” to the question.

“You’re asking me a political question, and I don’t want to go there. That
only gets me into trouble,” he replied.
Obligation not benevolence

The very framing of the question as to whether Israel should “help” its
“neighbors” is fundamentally flawed, whitewashing the reality that five
million Palestinians live under its military rule.

Providing vaccinations is not simply a matter of Israel acting benevolently
to a neighbor. It’s a matter of Israel fulfilling its obligations under
international law

As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for the public health of the
people living in the territory it occupies.

Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention makes “particular reference to
the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures
necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.”

Providing vaccinations to Palestinians is not a matter of politics or plain
morality but of rights and responsibilities. Israel has utterly failed to
uphold its obligations at the expense of Palestinian public health.

But even if it were a matter of Israeli generosity and benevolence towards
a “neighbor,” it’s telling that Fauci couldn’t just give a straightforward
“yes” for an answer.

Fauci has explicitly called
for vaccine “solidarity between countries” as critical to ending the

Why are Palestinians excluded from this basic concern for humanity?
Medical apartheid

Israelis living in West Bank settlements, built in violation of
international law, are able to receive inoculations but not Palestinians
living in the same territory under the same state authority.

There’s a word <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/apartheid> for this
kind of state-sanctioned separate and unequal treatment.

Earlier this week, Israel delayed the transfer
of vaccine doses acquired by the Palestinian Authority for frontline
medical workers in the Gaza Strip. Some Israeli lawmakers sought to
condition the transfer of vaccines on political concessions from Hamas.

Under a severely tightened Israeli blockade since 2007, the Gaza Strip is
one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Israel’s siege has
“pushed Gaza’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse,” Palestinian
human rights groups have warned.

All aspects of Palestinian life, including the right to health, are harmed
by Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonization and apartheid.

Decades of “de-development and economic subordination” have prevented
Palestinians from access to vaccines, as the corporate watchdog Who Profits
notes <https://twitter.com/Who_Profits/status/1354364233912348672>.
Meanwhile, Israel refuses to vaccinate
the vulnerable
Palestinian workers who serve as its captive and disposable labor force.

And while undocumented persons and status-less non-Palestinian refugees and
migrant workers in Israel are eligible to receive vaccinations,
Palestinians from the West Bank living in the country are being turned away

*The Times of Israel* interviewed Fauci on the occasion of his winning the
$1 million Dan David Prize
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/dan-david-prize> awarded by a
foundation based at Tel Aviv University.

That university is deeply complicit
in Israel’s system of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against

A prize that big may make it tempting to turn away from the reality of
Israeli medical apartheid. But that doesn’t make it right.

By treating Palestinian rights as a “political question,” Fauci is
undermining the work of groups who are calling on Israel
to fulfill its obligations under international law.

That is a political act, and a very shameful one to be sure.
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