Omar Barghouti says no problem cooperating with Israel if it saves millions of lives, but says Arabs and Palestinians should not use coronavirus as excuse to normalize ties
JTA– The founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel said that if Israel invents a vaccine for the coronavirus, those who reject normalization with Israel by boycotting it can still be given the vaccine.
Omar Barghouti made the comments in a Facebook live Arabic-language webinar Sunday titled “BDS and Anti-normalization: The most important strategies to fight against the deal of the century, even in the time of COVID-19.”
Barghouti said that Israel should not be allowed to use the coronavirus crisis to maintain relations with the Palestinian Authority and with other Arab states.
He also said, according to the Jerusalem Post: “if you use medical equipment from Israel — it’s not a problem. Cooperating with Israel against the virus – to begin with, we do not consider it normalization.”
The same is true of other medical breakthroughs, he said. “If Israel finds a cure for cancer, for example, or any other virus, then there is no problem in cooperating with Israel to save millions of lives,” he said.
He pointed out, the Jerusalem Post reported, that “up until now, we have not been in a situation where we need Israel urgently and no one else can save us but Israel. If that will happen, saving lives is more important than anything else.”
The description of the webinar in the Facebook post accused Israel of exploiting Palestinian workers in the country by not offering them protection against the virus, and accused Israel of “intensifying the looting of the land and arrests, oppression and killing, while normalization continues with the Arab official system.”
Read More: Times of Israel