Israel Freezes Plan To Send Vaccines To Foreign Allies

Experts see this as the latest twist in the saga that raised questions about the incumbent Prime Minister’s decision-making authority.

Israel freezes plan to send vaccines to foreign allies
Israelis line up to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a coronavirus vaccination center s...

Israel announced Thursday that Netanyahu’s controversial decision to ship the surplus vaccines to foreign allies was frozen following a legal challenge. Experts see this as the latest twist in the saga that raised questions about the incumbent Prime Minister’s decision-making authority.

At home, opponents criticized Netanyahu’s decision to help the far-flung countries in Africa and other parts of the world as the neighboring Palestinian territories are struggling to fight the pandemic outbreak and secure their vaccine shots. While analysts suggest that the plan showed how at a time of global shortages of shots, the vaccine has become a diplomatic tool for national gains.

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On Wednesday, Netanyahu announced that he had personally decided to share the surplus vaccines with allied countries. Even though he did not identify the countries, the local media in Israel reported that the government would be sending shipments to nineteen countries with growing or close ties with the country.

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister of Netanyahu’s government, welcomed the decision to freeze the shipment of extra shots to allied nations. Gantz, who is currently serving under the Netanyahu government, is also preparing to face off the Prime Minister in the next month’s general elections.

Israel has had one of the world’s fastest vaccine rollout programs, with more than half of its population already having received the first shot. However, the centrist Gantz and his party maintained that the decision to distribute the vaccines must be made on proper forums, saying that it was not up to the Prime Minister to decide who gets the surplus shots.

In response to Netanyahu’s announcement, Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, described Israel’s vaccine shipment as political blackmail and exploitation of these nations’ humanitarian needs. So far, the Israeli officials have given a total of 2,000 vaccines to Palestinian health officials, maintaining that they are responsible for their health care system.

Meanwhile, Palestine has accused Israel of ignoring its duties as the occupier by excluding Palestinian people from its vaccination program. Tel-Aviv has maintained that under the Oslo agreement, the Palestinian health officials are responsible for inoculation their population in West Bank and Gaza, where they have little control.

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