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02/25/2021

Vaccine diplomacy by Netanyahu

Vaccine diplomacy by Netanyahu

The Tel Aviv administration promises other countries COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Guatemala has moved its embassy Jerusalem, whereas Honduras and the Czech Republic are also planning to move their embassies, they reported.

While Palestinians are waiting for vaccination, Israel sends vaccines to its allies in distant countries in return for opening their embassies in Jerusalem.

According to the New York Times, Israel’s vaccine aid will go to countries like the Czech Republic and Honduras, which promise to move their diplomats to Jerusalem, instead of Palestinians under occupation.

Honduras, the second country after the USA to open its embassy in Jerusalem, will receive 5,000 Kovid-19 vaccines from Israeli stocks. Similarly, Hungary, Guatemala and the Czech Republic will also receive some vaccine, reporters stated.

This situation also sparked controversy in Israel, with criticism that Tel Aviv should vaccinate the Palestinians under its auspices before other countries.

On the other hand, although it was alleged that the vaccines allocated by Tel Aviv on Tuesday were given unconditionally, the recipient countries rewarded the gesture of the Tel Aviv administration by tacitly accepting Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, the New York Times reported.

It was stated in the report that Guatemala moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and Honduras promised to do so. It was also noted that while Hungary was setting up a trade delegation in Jerusalem, the Czech Republic promised to open a diplomatic office there.

Allegation of barter with Syria

Israel provided a coronavirus vaccine to Syria for prisoner exchange, the Guardian reported last week based on a source and local media.

According to the report, the prisoner exchange between Israel and Syria was carried out thanks to Israel’s provision of a coronavirus vaccine to Syria.

Syrian state media denied the allegation of vaccine exchange.

Gantz: an illegal step

On the other side, Defense Minister Benny Gantz described the vaccine diplomacy pursued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as an illegitimate method.

“The truth is that Netanyahu is doing an uncalculated trade over the vaccines bought by the taxes paid by Israeli citizens, and obviously he thinks he is ruling a kingdom, not a state,” Gantz posted on his Twitter account.

Pointing out that such a step should be discussed and approved by the government, Gantz said, ‘Only a substantial situation in terms of security, politics or health requires taking such a step.’

Vaccine companies give priority

With a population of nine million, Israel vaccinated more than half of its population with the first dose, including people living in Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian land. It is known that 33 percent of the population, that is, one in three people, gets their second dose.

The deal made with suppliers is the key that made Israel a leader in vaccine practice, the European press wrote.

It is stated that Israel has a smooth process with supplier Pfizer, unlike European Union (EU) countries, additionally, it is known that Israel paid more for each dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine compared to the EU. Israel pays 23 Euros per dose, while EU countries pay 12 Euros.

Palestinians waiting for a vaccine

However, while Israel both vaccinates its own population and sends “demanding-return” vaccines to other countries, Palestinians, who are living under Israeli control in the occupied territories and almost all of them have not yet received vaccines, are in a difficult situation. Amnesty International also made a call to the Israeli government last month, for the “fair and equitable distribution” of corona vaccines to 5 million 100 thousand Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is stated that if Palestinians are not vaccinated, Israel will have violated the relevant articles of the Geneva Convention. The contract holds that the occupying power is responsible for ensuring local people’s access to healthcare, in cooperation with local health institutions.

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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