Israel freezes plan to send vaccines to foreign allies
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plan to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations was frozen on Thursday following a legal challenge to the deal, his office announced.
It was the latest twist in a saga that has raised questions at home about Netanyahu’s decision-making authority, as well as his move to help far-flung nations in Africa and Latin America at a time when the neighbouring occupied Palestinian territories are struggling to secure their own vaccine supplies.
The plan has also illustrated how at a time of global shortages, the vaccine has become an asset that can be used for diplomatic gain.
Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that he had personally decided to share small quantities of surplus Israeli vaccines with allied nations. He did not identify the countries, but Israeli media reported that Israel would send shipments to 19 countries with close or growing ties with Israel.
“I welcome the decision to freeze the transfer of vaccines to other countries,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter. Gantz is serving in Netanyahu’s government while preparing to face off against him in an election next month.
Israel has had one of the world’s fastest roll-outs of COVID-19 vaccines, with nearly half the population already having received one dose.
But centrist former General Gantz said a decision to give away vaccines must be made in the “proper forums” and it was not up to Netanyahu to take such action on his own…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera