While publicly the Palestinian Authority is at verbal war with Israel, privately they’re asking for Covid help. It was revealed this week that the PA secretly asked for and received the COVID-19 vaccine from Israel, according to a report from the Kan Public Broadcast network.
The two governments agreed to the transfer at the beginning of this week, the report said, at the PA’s request for doses of the vaccine that could be administered in “special humanitarian cases.” The vaccinations had not yet been used, an unnamed source told the network.
Thursday saw 1,251 new infections and 21 deaths from the coronavirus in the Palestinian territories, Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Alkaila told the official Wafa news agency.
Several PA officials denied the news of a secret transfer, and the government has not publicly asked Israel to help procure the transfer. Previously, it has said that the West Bank and Gaza will receive vaccines from the World Health Organization’s Covax program, beginning next month.
In a tweet Thursday, Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh cited an unnamed PA source who denied the secret transfer, claiming that it had rejected an Israeli offer of vaccine doses.
“We are working to obtain vaccines from WHO and companies around the world,” Abu Toameh tweeted,” the source said.
While it doesn’t make the headlines, the Jewish state of Israel supports the Palestinian Authority to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. From jobs to free electricity and water to assistance with security, Israel typically works behind the scenes to help Arabs in areas controlled by the PA. Opinion polls among Palestinians have shown a distrust and lack of confidence in the ability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver everyday necessities.
When the Trump administration announced the historic peace accords between Israel and the UAE in the fall, the PA was forced to pay protesters because Arabs were privately saying they were ready for peace and an end to the stalemate with the Jewish state.
Currently, Israel is on track to give the majority of its population the vaccine by March.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services.