Israel will provide one million doses of about-to-expire Covid-19 vaccine to the Palestinian Authority, according to reports.
"Israel has signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, and will supply approximately one million doses of Pfizer vaccine that is about to expire," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office said, AFP has reported.
Israel Will Get the Lot Assigned to Palestine
The PMO issued a statement in tis regard jointly with ministries of defence and health. Under the deal, Israel will receive the Pfizer vaccine doses that the Palestinian Authority is supposed to get, probably at a later point in time.
"Israel will receive the same amount of doses of Pfizer in September/October 2021, on behalf of what is destined for the Palestinian Authority," the Israeli government statement said.
The news agency said there was no comment from the Palestinian Authority.
While Israel was at the world's top with regard to vaccination, Palestine had been struggling to get enough doses to vaccinate the most needy among its people.
In Israel, more than 55 percent of the population have already received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, helping the country ease restrictions and get back to normal life.
On the contrary, in Palestinian, only about 260,000 people have received two doses of the vaccine.
Reports said early in February that Palestine was facing a mounting challenge in its COVID-19 vaccination program, with an acute funding crunch staring at the cash-strapped territorial government.
According to a World Bank report, Palestine faced a $30 million funding shortfall. The report came a week after the Arab territory accused Israel of refusing to allow 2,000 coronavirus vaccine doses intended for Gaza health workers.
The Bank suggested that Israel could consider donating surplus doses to the Palestinians. "From a humanitarian perspective, Israel can consider donating the extra doses it has ordered that it would not be using," the World Bank said.
In March, the Palestinian Authority said it had reached an agreement with Israel wherein the Jewish state will vaccinate over 100,000 Palestinian laborers with Israeli work permits. The decision came even as rights groups said that Israel hadn't done enough to safeguard Palestinians in occupied territory.
The Israel-Palestine vaccine deal was struck despite lingering tensions between the two sides following the 11-day war between the Jewish state and the Hamas in Gaza. Though the ceasefire ended the hostilities, there were renewed tensions earlier this week as arson balloons were launched from Gaza into Israel. The IDF carried air strikes inside Gaza city in retaliation.
Israel said the decision to provide vaccines to Palestine was taken as Tel Aviv considered its vaccine stocks.
"This agreement was made possible after noting that the stock of vaccines that Israel has in its possession meets its current needs," the government statement said.