The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Monday accused Israel of holding up the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines into Gaza.
A PA official told the Reuters news agency that the PA tried to send 2,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to Gaza on Monday, but that Israel stopped the shipment at a checkpoint “and informed the Palestinians there was no approval to continue to Gaza.”
The vaccine shipment was returned to Ramallah because it needs to be kept under cold temperatures, added the PA official.
An Israeli security official said the PA’s request to send the 2,000 doses was “still being examined” and that “an approval hasn’t yet been given.”
The body charged with approving the transfer is Israel’s national security council, the Israeli security official added.
The PA officially launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign earlier this month, with health workers receiving the first shots.
The campaign began after Israel transferred 2,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine and said it had earmarked another 3,000 shots for Palestinian Arabs.
Israel was recently criticized in international circles for failing to provide the PA with COVID-19 vaccines. This criticism came from international organizations but also from US lawmakers from the Democratic party, most notably Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Joaquin Castro and Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
However, as former Ambassador Alan Baker pointed out in a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, Israel is in no way obligated to deliver vaccines to Palestinian Arabs or to residents of Gaza.
Israeli Arabs, including those residing in eastern Jerusalem, are being vaccinated as have almost all Arabs in Israeli prisons, including terrorists.
New Hope party chairman Gideon Sa’ar recently told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Israel would be more than happy to provide vaccines to the PA, but that would only happen once it ensures that its own citizens have been vaccinated.