The Invention of a Legal Obligation for Israel to Vaccinate Palestinians Betrays Resentment at the Successes of the Jewish State

March 25 2021

On March 12, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and two other senators sent a formal letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to pressure Jerusalem into providing vaccines to Palestinians, claiming that the Jewish state has a duty to do so under international law. Other members of Congress have made similar statements as well. But, Eugene Kontorovich explains, international law requires no such thing:

The central source of international law is treaties—agreements between the parties. While treaties often do not address many specific questions, in this case, there is a clearly applicable international agreement that directly addresses the vaccine issue—the Oslo Accords. . . . Oslo provides that “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian sides.” It also makes clear that this includes vaccination.

Because Oslo directly contradicts their claim, the vaccination-obligation exponents base their argument exclusively on Article 56 of the [1950] Fourth Geneva Convention, which was quoted extensively in the senators’ letter. . . . First, the contention that the Geneva Convention supplants Oslo is preposterous—it makes much of the latter agreement a dead letter, something none of these “experts” argued when Oslo was first signed. But even if one thinks the Geneva Convention is relevant, it clearly does not require Israel to supply the Palestinians with vaccines.

Kontorovich shows in detail why this is so, and then turns to the question of how such baseless interpretations get passed off as international law by people who should know better:

The claim of Israeli responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian populace was never made before Israel achieved global renown for its rapid vaccine rollout program. The accusations against Israel now are designed to besmirch and belittle this remarkable achievement. But absolutely nothing in the Geneva Convention says that [Palestinian must be vaccinated at] the speed of the fastest country on earth. This idea is baseless and preposterous. In fact, the Palestinian Authority is receiving vaccines at roughly the same speed as are comparable governments.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Bernie Sanders, Coronavirus, Elizabeth Warren, International Law, Oslo Accords, Palestinians

Gaza’s Quiet Dissenters

Last year, the Dubai-based television channel Al-Arabiya, the Times of Israel, and several other media organizations worked together to conduct numerous interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip, taking great pains to protect their identities. The result is a video series titled Whispers in Gaza, which presents a picture of life under Hamas’s tyranny unlike anything that can be found in the press. Jeff Jacoby writes:

Through official intimidation or social pressure, Gazans may face intense pressure to show support for Hamas and its murderous policies. So when Hamas organizes gaudy street revels to celebrate a terrorist attack—like the fireworks and sweets it arranged after a gunman murdered seven Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night—it can be a challenge to remember that there are many Palestinians who don’t rejoice at the murder of innocent Jews.

In one [interview], “Fatima” describes the persecution endured by her brother, a humble vegetable seller, after he refused to pay protection money to Hamas. The police arrested him on a trumped-up drug charge and locked him in prison. “They beat him repeatedly to make him confess to things he had nothing to do with,” she says. Then they threatened to kill him. Eventually he fled the country, leaving behind a family devastated by his absence.

For those of us who detest Hamas no less than for those who defend it, it is powerful to hear the voices of Palestinians like “Layla,” who is sickened by the constant exaltation of war and “resistance” in the Palestinian media. “If you’re a Gazan citizen who opposes war and says, ‘I don’t want war,’ you’re branded a traitor,” she tells her interviewer. “It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.” So people keep quiet, she explains, for fear of being tarred as disloyal.

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Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian dissidents, Palestinian public opinion