Israel announced the dispatch of around one million-plus coronavirus vaccines Friday to help neighboring Palestinians through their own stumbling vaccination rollout.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed in a statement it would transfer doses that are about to expire, and that in exchange, in September and October, Israel would receive shipments of Pfizer vaccines originally destined for Palestinians.
“The plan was approved based on the fact that Israel’s current vaccine stockpile is sufficient for its current needs,” the PMO statement said.
Israel, which has fully reopened after vaccinating some 85 percent of its adult population, confirmed up to 1.4 million doses could be exchanged in the deal, AP reports.
“We will continue to find effective ways to cooperate for the benefit of people in the region,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted after the deal was announced.
To date, around 380,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and around 50,000 in Gaza, controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, have been vaccinated. More than 300,000 infections have been recorded in the two territories, including 3,545 deaths.
Israel has also donated 5,000 Moderna doses and 200 Pfizer doses for Palestinian medical workers.
The deal comes amid high tensions between the Jewish state and the Palestinians, with violations of a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers that went into effect on May 21, ending 11 days of heavy fighting.
Late Thursday, Israeli fighter jets carried out air strikes on Gaza for a second time since the ceasefire. The military said they were in retaliation for three days of incendiary terror ballons launched from the Palestinian enclave, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.
AP, AFP contributed to this story