If Dr. Anthony Fauci still plans to accept the Dan David Prize from Israel after he knows the facts, he may want to use the award money to buy vaccines for the Palestinian people.
by Kathryn Shihadah
AN OPEN LETTER TO DR. ANTHONY FAUCI
Dear Dr. Fauci,
Congratulations on being recognized by the State of Israel for your efforts during the pandemic. You also recognized Israel for its exceptional rollout efforts: “way up there with 78 doses per 100 people, compared to the United States, which has 16.7 doses per 100 people.” Indeed, Israel has done a remarkable job of vaccinating Israeli citizens.
The award committee that chose you for the Dan David Prize described you as “the consummate model of leadership and impact in public health.” You will be awarded $1 million for your efforts at “courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging COVID crisis.”
Dr. Fauci, you might not be aware of the controversy surrounding Israel’s vaccination program. It has been prominent in the news and among international human rights groups – but you’re a busy man, and you would be forgiven if you missed it – but you need to know it now.
As a scientist, you work with facts and data, and you’ve already dealt with more than your share of misinformation. So here are the facts.
A crash course on Israel, Palestinians, and Covid vaccines for Dr. Fauci
In a nutshell, Israel has bought up a large supply of vaccines, but has so far refused to share them with the Palestinian population that it holds under occupation. According to international law, an occupying state is required to provide necessary healthcare, specifically including “measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics” to those living under its control.
Dr. Fauci, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank requested just 10,000 doses from Israel, hoping to vaccinate Palestinian frontline workers. Shipments from the World Health Organization (WHO) for the 3.3 million residents of the West Bank could take months. Even when they arrive, it is expected to be only enough to protect 5% of the Palestinian population.
For weeks, Israel refused to help at all, but after pressure from around the world, it finally agreed to share just 5,000 doses. (Three weeks after this promise was made, media have confirmed the delivery of only 2,000.) This is in spite of the fact that Israel is so far along with its vaccination program that it is running out of people to vaccinate, and has begun luring people to get vaccinated at a bar by offering a free drink.
Dr. Fauci, the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are also in desperate need of vaccines. When the WHO sent a starter shipment of 1-2,000 vaccines, Israel delayed their delivery.
In addition, Israel has brutally hindered the Palestinians’ own efforts to care for their people during the pandemic: it has limited the influx of testing kits, masks, and other necessities, has demolished or dismantled a string of clinics and makeshift Covid testing facilities since the beginning of the pandemic, arrested volunteers as they worked to disinfect schools, and even stolen food meant for needy Palestinians.
Israel has also demolished a record number of Palestinian homes in 2020-2021, in spite of its promise at the beginning of the pandemic to halt the (illegal) practice.
Dr. Fauci, for a man like you who has dedicated his life to public health, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian population must be unacceptable.
That’s why, if you accept the Dan David Prize, you should immediately use the $1 million to buy Covid vaccines for the people of Palestine.
Please, Dr. Fauci, use your influence to call attention to the injustice that Israel is perpetrating on Palestinians.
Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. She also blogs at Palestine Home.
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