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TOP STORIES TODAY

The COVID-19 vaccine: another ugly face of Israeli Apartheid (Mondoweiss) 

Yumna Patel writes: "The apartheid system under which Israel operates inside the occupied territory, however, could not be better displayed than in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine — who gets the vaccine, and who doesn’t, is a simple matter of nationality."

“Firstly we have to be very clear: with military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza effectively under Israeli control, Israel is legally obliged by international law to provide for their [Palestinians’] healthcare,” Dr. Yara Hawari, Senior Analyst at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, told Mondoweiss. 

“Israel is legally required to provide that vaccine to Palestinians under occupation. We know they [Israel] have not done that,” she said, adding that Israel puts that responsibility on the PA as the service provider for Palestinians. 

"While Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza will not receive vaccines from the Israeli government, the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank are getting vaccinated every day."
MK Cotler-Wunsh quits Blue and White, says she’s ‘committed to continue serving’ (Times of Israel)

"Lawmaker leaves party after just 6 months in Knesset; announcement comes days after Gantz ousts 2 rebel lawmakers and amid reports he is mulling future."

"Her announcement came as Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz mulls his political future, with party officials reportedly giving him several more days to make a final decision on whether he intends to continue leading the party, merge with other parties, or quit politics altogether."

"The party won 33 seats in March’s elections, but is polling at only 5-6 seats now, and many analysts believe it will fail to win any seats at all in the upcoming elections."
The US money tree: The untold story of American aid to Israel (Middle East Monitor)

Dr Ramzy Baroud writes: "On December 21, the United States Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief Package, as part of a larger $2.3 trillion bill meant to cover spending for the rest of the fiscal year. As usual, US representatives allocated a massive sum of money for Israel."

"While unemployment, thus poverty, in the US is skyrocketing as a result of repeated lockdowns, the US found it essential to provide Israel with $3.3 billion in 'security assistance' and $500 million for US-Israel missile defence cooperation."

"As of February 2019, the US has withheld all funds to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, in addition to cutting aid to the UN Palestinian Refugees agency (UNRWA), the last lifeline of support needed to provide basic education and health services to millions of Palestinian refugees."
In Canada, the IHRA definition has begun to stifle pro-Palestinian voices (972 Magazine)

Mohammad Fadel and Shireen Salti write: "It is no coincidence that the IHRA definition of antisemitism is being advanced in Canada amidst an increasingly hostile environment toward critics of Israel."

"In 2019, under the guise of combating racism and bigotry, Canada adopted the highly problematic definition of antisemitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which conflates political criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry."

"The dangerous consequences were already apparent earlier in June, when, following a debate on the IHRA definition organized by Ryerson University’s Centre for Free Expression, human rights lawyer and professor Faisal Bhabha, who participated in the event, was accused of antisemitism. B’nai Brith, a Canadian Jewish organization, launched a petition against Prof. Bhabha, demanding that he no longer be permitted to teach any human rights classes."

GO DEEPER

Gaza Airport: The legacy of a Palestinian dream (Al Jazeera)

Hind Khoudary writes: "It was 7am on June 2, 1996, in Cairo when Captain Zeyad al-Bada received a surprising phone call from Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. Arafat told al-Bada, then a 39-year-old Palestinian Airlines captain and Arafat’s personal pilot, that he would be the first to land at the newly built Gaza International Airport."

"Al-Bada worried that he would be landing on an 'asphalt street' rather than a high-quality runway. His hands and legs were shaking during the flight, and he burst into tears of joy as he made his descent to the airport. 'As I was landing I saw crowds of people dancing, I spontaneously grabbed a small [Palestinian] flag from Yasser Arafat’s closet and raised it out of the window, greeting the crowds.''
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