Sanders praises Israeli health officials for call to vaccinate Palestinian Arabs

Sanders last week blasted Israel for failing to vaccinate Palestinian Arabs even though Israel is not obligated to do so.

Elad Benari ,

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday praised Israeli health officials for calling on the government to work to vaccinate all Palestinian Arabs.

Sanders tweeted a link to an NPR article entitled “Israeli Health Officials To Government: Vaccinate All Palestinians” and wrote, “I applaud the Israeli health officials for their efforts. Making sure all Palestinians receive vaccines is the right thing to do from both a public health and moral perspective. I hope the Israeli government follows their advice as quickly as possible.”

Monday’s tweet comes days after Sanders blasted Israel for providing some of its excess COVID-19 vaccine to other countries while failing to vaccinate Palestinian Arabs.

“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.

Sanders became the latest US lawmaker to criticize Israel for failing to provide Palestinian Arabs with COVID-19 vaccines, even though Israel is not obligated to do so under the Oslo Accords.

Several lawmakers from the Democratic party had previously criticized Israel over this, most notably Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Joaquin Castro and Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

The criticism is unjustified, however, as Israel has already transferred thousands of doses of vaccines to the PA and even transferred vaccines to Gaza, whose Hamas rulers continue to hold the bodies of Israeli soldiers.

Sanders, who is Jewish and spent time in a Kibbutz when he was younger, has repeatedly criticized the Israeli government and has asserted that it is racist.

Last year, he added his name to a letter by Democrats against Israel's plans to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Previously, he claimed that AIPAC provides a platform for "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights" in justifying his decision not to address the conference.

In 2019, Sanders caused an uproar when he told the J Street conference that the US should redirect its aid to Israel and give it to Gaza instead.

Despite all these, he has refuted claims that he is anti-Israel and insisted that he is simply advocating for a foreign policy “that not only protects Israel, but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well.”