COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccineNasser Ishtayeh/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority “foreign minister” Riyad Al-Maliki on Thursday accused the "Israeli occupation authorities" of exploiting the way countries deal with the coronavirus pandemic in order to pressure them politically by offering vaccine doses in exchange for political support or the opening of diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Speaking during an Arab-Japanese forum, Maliki said that this was a blatant violation of international law, and a serious violation of UN resolutions related to Jerusalem's legal, historical and cultural status.

Maliki further claimed that the suffering of the Palestinian people from the coronavirus is twice as great in light of Israel's non-recognition of its responsibility as an "occupying force" to provide Palestinians with the required vaccine doses.

The thing that most threatens international peace and security, he added, is the undermining of the principles of international law and international legitimacy, including the right to self-determination of peoples, national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states.

Maliki added that resolving the Palestinian issue embodies the importance of multilateral action to build trust, based on the initiative of "President" Mahmoud Abbas which he presented to the Security Council in February 2018, emphasizing the importance of international support for it.

He called on the international community to put pressure on Israel, which he called the "occupying power," to abide by bilateral agreements, and not to delay the exercise of the Palestinian people's democratic right in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, including the right to run and vote in "occupied" eastern Jerusalem.

The PA officially launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign earlier after Israel transferred 2,000 doses of Moderna vaccines and said it had earmarked another 3,000 shots for Palestinian Arabs.

Despite getting thousands of doses from Israel as well as vaccines from Russia, the PA has been critical of Israel and has accused it of holding up the transfer of vaccines.

At the same time, the PA has acknowledged it provided COVID-19 vaccines to senior PA officials and to the Jordanian royal family.