Israel postpones vaccination drive for Palestinian workers


Israel authorities postponed on Friday a vaccination drive planned for Palestinians who work inside the country citing administrative delays, but without giving a new date for its resumption.

The long awaited vaccination for the Palestinians was supposed to begin on Sunday at West Bank crossings into Israel and at Israeli industrial zones.

The inoculation plan could have assuaged criticism of Israel for not sharing significant amounts of its vaccine stockpiles with Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip — even as Israel succeeded in launching one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world.

COGAT, the Israeli military agency coordinating day-to-day affairs with the Palestinian Authority, attributed the postponement to “administrative delays,” adding that a new start date for the campaign would be determined later.

Some 100,000 Palestinian labourers from the West Bank work in Israel. The PA had acquired enough dose for only 6,000 of its people — meaning the vast majority of the estimated 7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will remain unvaccinated.

The West Bank was placed under new restrictive measures last week to curb the surge in infections.

Israel meanwhile announced plans to share surplus vaccines with far-flung allies in Africa, Europe and Latin America, but the decision was frozen by legal questions.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with leaders of Denmark and Austria said the three nations would join forces in the fight against COVID-19 with an investment in research and roll-out of vaccines. (Source: The Independent)