Bernie Sanders Blasts Israel for Not Vaccinating Palestinians, Calls Sending Doses to Allies ‘Outrageous’

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 25, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst.

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders attacked Israel on Thursday for not vaccinating Palestinians while sending doses to foreign countries such as Honduras and the Czech Republic.

Sanders tweeted, “As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for the health of all the people under its control.”

“It is outrageous that Netanyahu would use spare vaccines to reward his foreign allies while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting,” he wrote, while sharing a New York Times article.

On Tuesday, Israel said it would give a small number of doses to Palestinian-run territories and several allies around the world, a process that was then halted on Thursday. It has also provided vaccines for Palestinian health care workers, as well as Palestinians who work in Israel.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority maintains responsibility over public health in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sanders’ comments are the latest in a series of similar accusations from politicians and NGOs. Among the US Democrats who have echoed the claim have been Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY) and Joaquin Castro (TX). Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) — who openly rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state — has accused Israel of racism and over the issue.

Sanders was noted during his two presidential campaigns for having allies and advisors who were hostile to Israel, including James Zogby, Cornel West, and others. His top foreign policy advisor is Matt Duss, whose views on Israel recently came under new scrutiny after reports that he was being considered for a post at the US State Department.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on handling the pandemic and the Palestinian conflict.

“Today, I spoke w/ @IsraeliPM to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations & Congress’s unwavering support for a safe & secure Israel,” she tweeted.

“We discussed COVID response & our shared hope for regional peace,” Pelosi added, “including a just, stable & enduring 2-state solution.”

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