Tory Party veterans suggest no 'rational person' can support Israel over failure to vaccinate Palestinians

Sir Nicholas Soames and Sir Alan Duncan mount attack in letter to The Telegraph


Two Tory Party veterans have suggested no “rational person” could support Israel’s failure to roll out its Covid-19 vaccination programme to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sir Nicholas Soames and Sir Alan Duncan made the claim in a letter to The Telegraph, in which they write of Israel’s  “legal obligation” to administer “this lifesaver to Palestinians living in their own country.”

They call on current Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to “address this matter on the international stage.”

The two outspoken critics of Israel accept that the Jewish state has “rightly earned many plaudits for having vaccinated its own people so quickly against the coronavirus.”

But they add: “Regrettably, that is where its moral advantage collides horribly with its further conduct.”

Sir Nicholas and Sir Alan, both former ministers, state that Israel “is prepared to vaccinate Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in the half of the city that is claimed by Israel but is not theirs, and it is also delivering the vaccine to illegal Israeli settlers in Palestine.

“But Israel declines to administer this lifesaver to Palestinians living in their own country, despite its legal obligation to do so as the occupying power.

“It is difficult to understand how any rational person can support this unjustifiable differentiation between populations.

“Whatever the divisions of the past, surely any civilised country should see the catastrophe of a global pandemic as an opportunity to unite across borders and put aside differences for the sake of humanity.”

In December, Palestinian officials announced that they had signed a deal with Russia for four million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

The Palestinian Authority also confirmed they had not asked Israel to supply them with its Covid 19 vaccine. But the Russian vaccine has been slow to arrive.

Gaza is also controlled internally by Hamas.

Sir Alan stood down ahead of the 2019 General Election having made numerous controversial statements on Israel – particularly in relation to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

In 2011, while serving as International Development Minister, he described Israel’s security barrier as a “land grab,” also accusing Israelis of stealing water from Palestinian communities.

Sir Nicholas, who also stood down about the last election, had regularly spoken out on Israel in the Commons. In 2019 he condemned the US for recognising Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.



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