Israel has announced plans to transfer at least one million doses of coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to an Israeli government statement.
The statement said the stock of between 1 million and 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine “will expire soon” and indicates it is currently surplus to Israel’s requirements – though it is not clear how much time remains for Palestinian health authorities to administer the doses before expiration.
As part of the arrangement, a shipment of Pfizer vaccines intended for the PA later in the year will now be delivered to Israel instead.
Israel’s leaders won considerable international acclaim for the country’s highly successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to its population of nine million earlier in the year.
But it was criticized for failing to provide vaccines to cover Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, which under the Geneva Conventions it is obliged to do.
Israel argued that it was relieved of those obligations by the Oslo Accords, signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the 1990s, which allocate responsibility for medical care provision to the Palestinian Authority.