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MPs call on government to pressure Israel into vaccinating 4.5 million occupied Palestinians

MPs are calling on the British government to press Israel to fulfil its legal and moral obligations to vaccinate 4.5 million Palestinians living under its brutal occupation. 

Israel is withholding the vaccine from millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank while vaccinating its own population, including illegal Israeli settlers, at one of the fastest rates of any country in the world. 

Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome tabled a Parliamentary early-day motion last week calling for the British government to “use all diplomatic and foreign aid routes to address this disparity.”

She said: “The Israeli government is shirking its legal and moral obligations to 4.5m people.

“While it has already vaccinated more than a fifth of its population, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have not even begun to receive their jabs. 

“The British government cannot be neutral in the face of such injustice and must make clear to the Israeli government that it is obligated to vaccinate all those living under its occupation without discrimination.”

Ms Whittome’s motion has received the support of 11 cross-party MPs including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Israel has claimed it is not its job to vaccinate Palestinians despite the United Nations clarifying that, as the occupying power, it is required to do so under international law. 

Rights groups have called for the vaccination programme to be extended to the West Bank and Gaza, where Israel’s brutal occupation and siege has caused chronic medicine shortages and crippled healthcare. 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal said that the Israel’s discriminatory vaccination programme amounts to “medical apartheid.”

He said that it is the British government’s responsibility to “hold Israel to account for these and all its other ongoing violations of international law.”

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