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New York Congressmember Mondaire Jones: Israel Should Ensure Palestinians Have Access to COVID Vaccines

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Israel has failed to make COVID-19 vaccines available to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, despite its responsibility under the Geneva Conventions. Critics in the United States say this “vaccine apartheid” is another example of Israeli human rights abuses going unpunished, even as the country receives billions in U.S. aid each year. Congressmember Mondaire Jones of New York says Israel must ensure that Palestinians are vaccinated. “There’s no question about that,” he says. “I don’t think that anyone can argue otherwise in good conscience.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to, finally, ask you, Congressman Jones, a follow-up on a conversation we had yesterday with Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill and a leading Jewish activist, Mitchell Plitnick, who wrote a book called Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics. We were talking about vaccines and Israel, one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, the fact that the health minister of Israel said Israel is about as responsible for making sure that Palestinians have vaccines — Israel is number one in the world in vaccinating its own population — as the Palestinian Health Ministry is responsible for dolphins in the Mediterranean. Can you comment on this?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES: I’m not familiar with those statements, but I will say I believe that Palestinians should be vaccinated. I mean, there’s just no question about that. And I don’t think that anyone can argue otherwise in good conscience.

AMY GOODMAN: And that Israel is responsible for what’s happening in the Occupied Territories?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES: You know, what I have said is that we need a two-state solution in that region, and also that, under the law, Palestinians and Israelis should be treated equally. I’ve been steadfast in that.

AMY GOODMAN: And are you saying that Israel should make sure that Palestinians have the vaccines?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES: Yes, I am saying that.

AMY GOODMAN: Mondaire Jones, I want to thank you so much for being with us, Democratic congressmember for New York’s 17th Congressional District.

Next up, the House passes the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We’ll speak to the longtime organizer Mariame Kaba. She’s author of the new New York Times best-selling book, We Do This ’Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice. Back in 30 seconds.

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