Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah) has had her predictable say on the coronavirus vaccine and Israel.
She claims that Israel has a duty to vaccinate the Palestinians, that it did not do so because Israel is a “racist” state and Israelis are “racists.” The report on her noxious fuming is here: “Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Calls Israel a ‘Racist State,’ Spreads False Claims on Vaccinating Palestinians,” Algemeiner, January 19, 2021:
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called Israel a “racist state” in an interview Tuesday with the left-wing news program Democracy Now!, and falsely claimed that it was denying coronavirus vaccines to Palestinians.
“I think it’s really important to understand Israel is a racist state and that they would deny Palestinians, like my grandmother, access to a vaccine, that they don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live, deserves to be able to be protected by this global pandemic,” Rep. Tlaib said in the interview with program host Amy Goodman.
Israel has not been vaccinating Palestinians in Gaza and in the PA-ruled territories because that is not its responsibility. In fact, it was specifically relieved of that duty in the Oslo Accords, which we’ll get to in a bit. Meanwhile,”racist” Israel is doing its best to vaccinate with equal alacrity both its Arab and its Jewish citizens. Apparently Israel is not sufficiently “racist” to deny its Arab citizens the vaccine. How does Rashida Tlaib explain that Israeli Arabs are being vaccinated, with the same vaccines, and at the same rate, as Jewish Israelis, by the Israeli government? If Israel were truly a “racist state,” why would it vaccinate any Arabs?
Of course, Rashida Tlaib knows exactly why Israel is not responsible for vaccinating the Palestinians in Gaza and the PA-held territories. It has no duty to do so. The responsibility for the medical care of the Palestinians – including vaccinations – rests with the Palestinian Authority. This has been pointed out many times recently, but the assertion that Israel does not bear responsibility is, alas, not always accompanied by the citation of the relevant part of the Oslo Accords. Here it is – Article 17 of Annex III to the Oslo Accords:
- Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.
- The Palestinian side shall continue to apply the present standards of vaccination of Palestinians and shall improve them according to internationally accepted standards in the field, taking into account WHO recommendations. In this regard, the Palestinian side shall continue the vaccination of the population with the vaccines listed in Schedule 3.
Got that, Rashida? Of course you are hoping to keep as many people as you can in the dark about Annex III, Article 17.
The Israelis, who have no duty to vaccinate any of the Palestinians, nonetheless provided vaccine doses for 100 Palestinian medical personnel – an earnest of what may come, if the Palestinians are truly unable to provide themselves with enough doses of the vaccine. At the moment, Israel is also vaccinating all of the 4,700 Palestinian detainees and prisoners, including those who have murdered Israelis. Why don’t the “racist” Israelis leave those prisoners unvaccinated and vulnerable to the disease?
Furthermore, Israel has ordered millions more doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, so that, after it has finished vaccinating its own population, it will almost certainly provide whatever is left to the Palestinians. Again, Tlaib makes no mention of this possibility.
Meanwhile, Rashida Tlaib should ask herself why is it that both Hamas in Gaza, and the PA in the West Bank, did not themselves make provision for buying coronavirus vaccines long ago? This is a question Rashida Tlaib would prefer not be raised. For the answer is embarrassing.
The lack of Palestinian funds available for buying vaccines is the result, in the first place, of the mismanagement and rampant corruption both in Gaza, under Hamas, and in the West Bank, under the PA. Billions of dollars in aid from donors have been diverted over many years to the private accounts of the leaders. Mahmoud Abbas himself has amassed a fortune of $400 million. Two Hamas leaders – Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk – have been even more successful in their thievery, with each now believed to be worth at least $2.5 billion. That’s money that might have gone to pay for the Palestinians’ coronavirus vaccines many times over.
But it is not only this Grand Theft that explains the inability of the Palestinian leaders to have made adequate – or indeed any – provision for buying vaccine for their people. It’s also the choices they made with the money that was left in the public coffers. They continued to buy weapons, including expensive drones and missiles. In Gaza Hamas has also built terror tunnels that cost several million dollars apiece; the PA spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually on its “Pay-For-Slay” Program. These are the choices the PA and Hamas made; no one forced them to spend their money in that way. And now they want to blame Israel for their own failure to have obtained the coronavirus vaccine. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and Mahmoud Abbas and so many others hope you never find out about Article 17 of Annex III to the Oslo Accords. They don’t want to mention it, they don’t want to hear about it; they don’t want others to know about it.
Jewish groups have criticized recent claims that Israel is preventing COVID-19 vaccines from reaching Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, noting that the authority to acquire and distribute them belongs to the Palestinian Authority. Last month, the Palestinian health ministry approved a Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, and is expected to receive shipments of the shot next month.
Finally doing what it should have done months ago, the PA has now made arrangements to receive the Russian Sputnik V vaccine; the first shipments will arrive by early February; enough doses of the vaccine to inoculate the entire Palestinian population are promised by the Russians to arrive by early spring. So Rashida Tlaib has been crying wolf over the “plight” of the Palestinians. .
“They have the power to distribute that vaccine to the Palestinian people, their own neighbors, again, feet away from where they live, many of which, again, could expose them and their family,” Tlaib continued. “If anything, it just reiterates what the Palestinian people and even human rights groups have been telling us, is that this is an apartheid state.”
I am not sure on what basis Rashida Tlaib concludes that Israel, in refusing to be bullied into assuming.a duty that it does not have, reveals to the world that it is an “apartheid state.” Let’s go over that preposterous charge yet again.
In Israel, Arabs serve in the Knesset. The Arab Joint List is the third largest bloc in Israel’s Parliament. Arabs sit on Israel’s Supreme Court. Arabs go abroad as ambassadors representing their country, Israel. There is no glass ceiling for Arab Israelis in business; an Arab is the head of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi. Arabs and Jews in Israel study together, work together in factories and offices, provide care – and receive it -in the same medical facilities. Arabs play on the same sports teams and symphony orchestras as Jews. Israeli Arabs have been offered special training for jobs in high tech in order to take that they might take their part in Israel as the Start-Up Nation. If they wish, Arabs can serve in the IDF alongside — or even commanding — Jewish soldiers; Arabs have risen in Israel’s military as high as lieutenant colonel; eventually, Israel will have its first Arab (likely a Druze) general. Where is the apartheid in any of this?
And since Rashida Tlaib charges Israel, preposterously, with practicing apartheid, shouldn’t she be asked about the “apartheid” – the need for“apartness” from the Infidels – that is found in the Qur’an itself? Muslims learn in the Qur’an that they are the “best of peoples” (3:110) and non-Muslims “the worst of created beings” (98:6). Surely such verses bespeak both “apartheid” and Islamic supremacism. Muslims are also told to not befriend “Christians and Jews [and impliedly, all other non-Muslims] because they are friends only with each other”? (5:51). Isn’t that a further endorsement of “apartheid” for Muslims?
It would be wonderful if someone in the House or Senate, in raising the issue of Rashida Tlaib’s charges against Israel, were to reply to her insistence that Israel has a duty to vaccinate the Palestinians by quoting to her Article 17 of Annex III of the Oslo Accords, which unambiguously places the responsibility for vaccinations clearly on the Palestinians themselves. Israel has no more of a duty to vaccinate the Palestinians for the coronavirus than does the U.S. itself. And then perhaps that same Congressman or Senator could describe the actual situation in what Rashida Tlaib claims is “apartheid” Israel: how Arabs sit in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court, are sent abroad as ambassadors, rise high in Israeli business, how they study and work beside Jews, how they play on sports teams and in orchestras beside Jews, how they can even serve in the IDF, if they wish, where Arabs have risen high in rank, all the way to lieutenant colonel.
Could that kind of response to Rashida Tlaib manage to shut her up on the subject? No, of course not. But she’s not the real audience. There are others who will be listening to the reply made to her — fellow Congressmen, reporters, television news anchors – who will take in this information about Article 17, Annex III of the Oslo Accords, and about the ways Israel’s Jews and Arabs, in every aspect of their lives, refute the “apartheid” charge leveled against Israel. Having been properly informed, some among those Congressmen and members of the media will convey those truths to the wider public, that has been so misinformed by the shrill, dishonest, utterly deplorable Rashida Tlaib.