Tell Dr. Fauci to Speak Out Against Vaccine Apartheid!
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently won a $1 million Israeli public health award for his work during the coronavirus crisis. Tell Dr. Fauci that if he truly values public health, he must speak out against Israeli medical apartheid!
Dear Dr. Fauci,
We would like to begin by thanking you for your selfless dedication to public health. You are truly a hero and are someone who prioritizes health and science over politics. It is because of these qualities that we are appealing to you to speak out for Palestinians to gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Fauci, you recently praised Israel's vaccination program, saying in a press briefing, "Israel is way up there with 78 doses per 100 people, compared to the United States, which is 16.7 doses per 100 people." But that statistic doesn't tell the whole story: While Israel is leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, it wasn’t until February 1, 2021, that Israel finally delivered 5,000 COVID-19 vaccines for front-line Palestinian medical staff in the West Bank. By this time, it had vaccinated 3.1 million (33.4 percent) of the population inside Israel. Until February 17, Palestinians in Gaza did not have any access to the vaccine at all. They have since been given only a meager 1,000 doses for two million people.
Gaza, the most densely populated place on earth, is home to more than two million Palestinians. Authorities in Gaza have reported more than 53,000 COVID-19 infections and at least 537 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The situation is particularly worrisome as the enclave is under air, land, and sea siege from Israel and Egypt. Gaza suffers from up to 12 hours a day without electricity. There is a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment in Gaza, along with significant poverty and unemployment. Quarantining and maintaining sanitation in Gaza is extremely difficult.
According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is solely responsible for the health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. However, those deals were supposed to be part of a more complete peace agreement to be signed within five years. Almost three decades later, this larger peace agreement still hasn’t happened. Israel has entrenched its settlement enterprise occupation while flouting international law, which states clearly that an occupying power is obligated to meet the humanitarian needs of the people it is occupying.
We congratulate you on your receipt of the Israeli Dan David Prize for your career in public health and for "speaking truth to power" during the politicized COVID-19 crisis. We ask you now to speak truth to power by asking Israel to meet its international legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations to share the COVID-19 vaccine with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps, you might also wish to donate some of your $1 million prize money to vaccines for Palestinians. Like the United States, Israel is a highly charged political environment. But one doesn’t need a political position to know that medical apartheid is wrong. Please use your position to advocate for Israel to share the vaccine with Palestinians.