Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Health / COGAT
Handshake on the handover of more than a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinian Authority, June 18 2021.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to a deal on Friday to send coronavirus vaccines to the PA.

The Israel Defense Forces Coordinator Of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which handles civilian affairs with the Palestinians, has been working with the Palestinian Authority for weeks to sign a deal.

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Israel began the transfer of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccin on Friday. Israel currently has a sufficient quantity of the vaccine to meet its current needs, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Under the agreement Israel is to send between 1 million and 1.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian Authority. The first 100,000 doses connected to this agreement were transferred on Friday to the Palestinian Authority.

As part of the exchange deal, Pfizer will replenish Israel’s supplies of vaccine doses by an identical amount in September and October 2021.

According to Reuters, approximately 30 percent of eligible citizens in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza received at least one dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. This figure includes the more than 100,000 PA workers in Israel who were vaccinated by the Jewish State.

“No matter what our other conflicts may be, Israel continues to work with the Palestinian Authority to promote humanitarian efforts,” Israel Nitzan, acting consul general Israel Nitzan of the Israeli Consulate in New York, said.

“These vaccines should help improve the health and economic vitality of both our peoples and also the wider region.”

The Israel Defense Ministry also supplied the Palestinian Authority with several thousand doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in late January and in early February of this year. The Palestinian Authority has also received vaccines from the global vaccine program — COVAX — under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of June 18, 61 percent of the Israeli population is at least partially vaccinated and 57 percent are fully vaccinated.

Israel has just lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions due to its highly successful vaccine program.

As of June 15, face masks are no longer required indoors or outdoors in the State of Israel, and individual tourists who have been vaccinated and have negative COVID-19 tests are scheduled to be allowed back into the country on July 1.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.