‘We’re using vaccines rejected by PA on our kids,’ says Health Ministry chief

Local media reported the PA cancelled the deal because of social media pressure from Palestinians.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

After the Palestinian Authority rejected the transfer of some 1 million coronavirus vaccines from Israel, complaining that the doses were too close to their expiration date, the Jewish state is using those same vaccines on its adolescent citizens.

Health Ministry Director General Hezy Levi said Monday that Israel was launching a massive vaccination campaign aimed at those in the 12-to-15-year-old age group.

“Most of the vaccines are valid until the end of July, and therefore a rapid and extensive vaccination operation is required,” Levi told Hebrew language media.

Last Friday, the PA reneged on a deal to receive 1 million vaccines from Israel.

The PA received the first 100,000 doses, and then suddenly cancelled the deal.

PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila claimed that the vaccines from Israel had “fall[en] short of meeting the technical criteria” and suggested that the Israeli Health Ministry had not delivered what was previously agreed upon.

Israel’s Health Ministry strenuously challenged the PA’s version of events, rejecting the allegation that Israel had misled them about the terms of the agreement.

“The Palestinian Health Ministry received Pfizer vaccines that were valid, with expiration dates that were known, agreed on and that matched the agreement between the two sides,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The Palestinians received the same vaccines that are currently given to Israelis.”

The Media Line reported that the cancellation of the vaccine transfer came after intense social media backlash from Palestinians once the terms of the deal were made public.

This would not be the first time the PA made a snap decision because of social media pressure.

In December 2020, the PA imprisoned DJ Sama Abdulhadi for eight days after she performed at the Muslim holy site Nabi Musa, near Jericho.

The Palestinian Tourism Ministry had explicitly granted Abudlhadi permission to perform there, along with a permit that she presented to the authorities.

But after widespread outrage on social media, mostly stemming from anger that men and women were dancing together at a religious site, Palestinian security forces arrested her.

“They feared the public opinion,” Abdulhadi told Billboard. “The government got confused and didn’t know what to do.”

According to Haaretz, three countries reached out to Israel, interested in purchasing the vaccines rejected by the PA.

“Propaganda against the Jewish State is more important to the leadership of the PA than the lives of their people,” wrote Dr. Aaron Lerner in an op-ed on Arutz 7 Sunday.