Distributing vaccines in selective ways? Israel accused, PA actually doing it

Palestinian elderly take back seat to national soccer team.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel was widely criticized in the media for not providing coronavirus vaccines to Palestinians living in the Palestinian Authority, a subtle charge of racism (some went so far as to call it a modern blood libel) that even made its way into a Saturday Night Live joke.

Irony of ironies, it’s now been learned that it’s the PA selectively doling out the vaccine, with first doses going to heath personnel, but also to the Palestinian national soccer team (so they could compete in an international competition), Palestinian government ministers and security personnel.

To top it off, instead of prioritizing their own population, the PA shipped 200 doses of their extremely limited vaccine supply to neighboring Jordan, which its Ministry of Health was forced to admit Tuesday.

The PA Health Ministry issued a press release saying it had distributed the first 12,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but “under pressure from civil society organizations” admitted that 200 doses had been transferred to the “Jordanian royal court at his request, and with the approval of the office of President Mahmoud Abbas,” Arabic news site Erem News reported.

The announcement on the PA Health Ministry’s Facebook page garnered angry responses from Palestinians, Israel Hayom reported.

“The most important thing is the team that brings a trophy every year,” one person responded cynically, referring to the Palestinian soccer team.

In Israel “they do not distinguish between an Arab worker and a Jewish worker,” posted another Palestinian who referred to the Israeli decision to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian workers coming into Israel from PA-controlled areas.

Another responded angrily to the vaccinations of senior PLO members and wondered about his parents’ fate.

The PA’s vaccine distribution got slammed by Palestinian journalists, frustrated with the Authority’s incompetence in obtaining coronavirus vaccines despite declaring back in December that four million doses of vaccine were on the way.

“Staff of the Palestinian Ministry of Health or government spokesmen in Ramallah are satisfied that they turn off their phones and do not answer the journalists inquiries regarding the lack of justice and the use of favoritism in the distribution of the Corona vaccine, especially in light of the spread of the epidemic there to unprecedented levels,” tweeted journalist Ayman Dalloul.

“Is there an authority that explains how the Jordanians asked them for 200 doses?” tweeted journalist Moshira Al-Ziyoud.

Erem News reported the Health Ministry claimed that the first batches of vaccines purchased by the Palestinian government are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, blaming the delay on reasons related to the manufacturers, the global competition for vaccines and shipping procedures.

The PA also said they vaccinated an unspecified number of foreign diplomats, but also made sure to include “members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization who are over 65 years old.”