‘Israel’ is mulling a plan to use its surplus vaccines to bolster its diplomatic standing abroad, Israeli media reported on Monday.
Kan public broadcaster reported that negotiations are on with some “20 friendly nations as well as Moderna”, a US pharmaceutical giant from whom Israeli occupation authorities procured vaccine doses ahead of its deal with Pfizer.
It said that about 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, set to expire in late May, could end up heading abroad.
The report follows a public controversy over Israel’s previous effort to utilize surplus vaccines as part of its diplomatic outreach, which was initiated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Lately, ‘Israel’ approved the transfer of vaccine shipments “in return for things we already received” to other countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Guatemala and Honduras.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Guatemala and Honduras have all recognised occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“In light of the successful vaccination campaign in Israel, the leading country in the world in inoculating the population, Israel has received many requests from the countries of the world to assist with the supply of vaccines,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
However, Netanyahu suspended the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries amid legal scrutiny.
The decision came after Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit sent a letter to National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat asking for clarifications about the program, and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said that Netanyahu made such decisions without approval, which “raises concerns that it will harm Israel’s foreign relations and national security.”
‘Israel’ has been criticised widely for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine.
Today, 42.65% of Israel’s population is fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University while it excluded the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.
To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2387 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 560 of them in the Gaza strip. 99102 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.