JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel on Friday postponed plans to vaccinate Palestinians working in the country and its settlements in the West Bank for further notice.
COGAT, the Israeli military agency that coordinates day-to-day affairs with the Palestinian Authority, explained the postponement of “administrative delays”, adding that a new campaign start date would be set later.
The vaccination program was scheduled to begin Sunday at the West Bank border crossings in Israel and in Israeli industrial zones.
Such inoculations could soften criticism of Israel for not sharing significant vaccine stocks with Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip ̵
Israel had also announced plans to share a vaccine surplus with distant allies in Africa, Europe and Latin America, but the decision was frozen by legal issues. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders of Denmark and Austria said the three countries would join forces in the fight against COVID-19 by investing in research and vaccines.
About 100,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank work in Israel. The PA had acquired a sufficient dose for only 6,000 of its people – meaning that most of the 7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would remain unvaccinated.
Last week, the West Bank underwent new restrictive measures to curb the rise in infections.