Three countries ask Israel for vaccines rejected by Palestinians

The three countries interested in the vaccines were not disclosed.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel is negotiating with three countries that have expressed interest in acquiring around one million doses of the Covid vaccine rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

According to Haaretz, the doses of Pfizer’s vaccine will be sent to other countries if an arrangement with the Palestinians cannot be salvaged.

“Three countries have reached out to Israel over the past 24 hours to strike a similar deal to the one Israel had reached with the Palestinian Authority, in case the deal with the Palestinians isn’t renewed,” said the source quoted by Haaretz. The source added that the vaccines in question will expire in July.

The three countries interested in the vaccines were not disclosed.

On Friday, Israel announced it would transfer one million surplus vaccines to the PA. In exchange, the PA would transfer one million doses from a shipment due to arrive directly from Pfizer in September or October. The exchange was meant to enable the Palestinians to speed up their own vaccination campaign. Less than 20 percent of the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria have been vaccinated.

Israel delivered the first 100,000 doses to the PA on Friday.

Read  PA struggling to cover expenses after Israel freezes tax transfers, citing 'Pay to Slay'

Hours after the arrangement was announced, the A rejected the transfer, saying the doses were too close to their expiration dates and did not meet their standards. The PA Health Ministry said it would return 90,000 of the 100,000 delivered doses without explaining what would happen to the remaining 10,000.

PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said the vaccine exchange was originally negotiated in May with the expectation that the doses would arrive before June.

Al-Kaila also said that Israel made the exchange conditional on none of the vaccines being sent to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and that the agreements not refer to the Palestinian Authority as “the State of Palestine.”

Israeli officials rejected the claim it was dumping inferior vaccines on the Palestinians, saying the expiration dates were known to the PA all along and that the jabs came from the same stocks used by Israelis. Officials added that Israel would not take back any of the vaccines already delivered.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinians do not trust the PA explanation for the “scandal” and believe the officials who negotiated the deal colluded with Israel for their own profits — another sign of corruption among the Palestinian leadership. The Post noted Palestinian demands for an independent inquiry.

Read  PA rejects offer to control Rafah border crossing - report

Critics of the slow Palestinian vaccination campaign have also suggested that the transfer was cancelled because the Health Ministry is incapable of administering the doses before they expire and that wasted vaccines would be too politically embarrassing.